petrel

[ pe-truh l ]
/ ˈpɛ trəl /
|

noun

any of numerous tube-nosed seabirds of the families Procellariidae, Hydrobatidae, and Pelecanoididae.

Origin of petrel

1670–80; earlier pitteral, of uncertain origin; perhaps altered by association with St. Peter (who attempted to walk on the water of Lake Gennesareth), alluding to the bird's habit of flying close to the ocean surface
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British Dictionary definitions for petrel

petrel

/ (ˈpɛtrəl) /

noun

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

C17: variant of earlier pitteral, associated by folk etymology with St Peter, because the bird appears to walk on water
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