[ nahyt-hawk ]
See synonyms for: nighthawknighthawks on

  1. any of several longwinged, American goatsuckers of the genus Chordeiles, related to the whippoorwill, especially C. minor, having variegated black, white, and buff plumage.

  2. the European goatsucker or nightjar, Caprimulgus europaeus.

  1. Informal. a person who is habitually up or moving about late at night; night owl.

Origin of nighthawk

First recorded in 1605–15; night + hawk1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use nighthawk in a sentence

  • Out of the darkening sky rang the twanging call of a night-hawk, and the cluck of a dozing hen sounded from the foliage overhead.

  • The night-hawk flew low and touched my eyes with his wings as he flapped by, and I awoke.

    Wild Western Scenes | John Beauchamp Jones
  • Indirectly, Sorr, you have rescued from an onprincipled son av a night-hawk the peasanthry av a numerous village.

    Soldier Stories | Rudyard Kipling
  • Presently a night-hawk began to flit about me, then another and another, skimming just above the marsh as silent as the shadows.

    Roof and Meadow | Dallas Lore Sharp
  • "Perhaps a little whiskey would do him good," suggested a night-hawk who had just opened the door of the reporters' room.

British Dictionary definitions for nighthawk


/ (ˈnaɪtˌhɔːk) /

  1. Also called: bullbat, mosquito hawk any American nightjar of the genus Chordeiles and related genera, having a dark plumage and, in the male, white patches on the wings and tail

  2. informal another name for night owl

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012