pelican

[ pel-i-kuh n ]
/ ˈpɛl ɪ kən /
|

noun

any of several large, totipalmate, fish-eating birds of the family Pelecanidae, having a large bill with a distensible pouch.
a still or retort with two tubes that leave the body from the neck, curve in opposite directions, and reenter the body through the belly.

Nearby words

  1. pelham,
  2. pelham holles,
  3. pelham, henry,
  4. pelham-holles,
  5. pelias,
  6. pelican crossing,
  7. pelican flower,
  8. pelican hook,
  9. pelican state,
  10. pelican-flower

Origin of pelican

before 1000; Middle English pellican, Old English < Late Latin pelicānus, variant of pelecān < Greek pelekā́n

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pelican


British Dictionary definitions for pelican

pelican

/ (ˈpɛlɪkən) /

noun

any aquatic bird of the tropical and warm water family Pelecanidae, such as P. onocrotalus (white pelican): order Pelecaniformes. They have a long straight flattened bill, with a distensible pouch for engulfing fish

Word Origin for pelican

Old English pellican, from Late Latin pelicānus, from Greek pelekān; perhaps related to Greek pelekus axe, perhaps from the shape of the bird's bill; compare Greek pelekas woodpecker

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

Word Origin and History for pelican

pelican

n.

Old English pellicane, from Late Latin pelecanus, from Greek pelekan "pelican" (so used by Aristotle), apparently related to pelekas "woodpecker" and pelekys "ax," perhaps so called from the shape of the bird's bill. Spelling influenced in Middle English by Old French pelican. Used in Septuagint to translate Hebrew qaath. The fancy that it feeds its young on its own blood is an Egyptian tradition properly belonging to some other bird. Louisiana has been known as the Pelican state at least since 1859.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper