- any of numerous tube-nosed seabirds of the families Procellariidae, Hydrobatidae, and Pelecanoididae.
Origin of petrel
Examples from the Web for petrel
Historical Examples of petrel
I intend to charter the Petrel, which has just discharged the cargo she brought here.At Aboukir and Acre
George Alfred Henty
“No,” said the major, shaking his head, as he gazed out to where the Petrel lay.Mother Carey's Chicken
George Manville Fenn
The Leach's Petrel, Murre, and some other sea birds, have but one egg.The Bird Study Book
Thomas Gilbert Pearson
Her decks spouting flame, the Petrel raced on to meet the enemy.
The Petrel rolled lazily in the trough of the swell as she sped down the coast.
- any oceanic bird of the order Procellariiformes, having a hooked bill and tubular nostrils: includes albatrosses, storm petrels, and shearwatersSee also storm petrel
Word Origin for petrel
seabird, 1670s, pitteral, modern spelling first recorded 1703 by English explorer William Dampier (1651-1715), who wrote the bird was so called from its way of flying with its feet just skimming the surface of the water, which recalls the apostle's walk on the sea of Galilee (Matt. xiv:28); if so, it likely was formed in English as a diminutive of Peter (Late Latin Petrus). If this is folk etymology, the true source of the name is undiscovered. French pétrel (1760) probably is from English.