Origin of petrel
Examples from the Web for petrel
Like all its kindred, the Stormy 255 Petrel is a close sitter, remaining in its hole until dragged out.British Sea Birds|Charles Dixon
The second and third mates of the Petrel will sail with me again, and so will all the men who were rescued.A Chapter of Adventures|G. A. Henty
After hoosh, a friendly little Wilson petrel came flying from the northern sea to our tent.
Before we got into harness on the same day, a Wilson petrel flew above us.
The petrel is a bird not much unlike a swallow, but smaller, and with a shorter tail.A Voyage to New Holland|William Dampier
British Dictionary definitions for petrel
Word Origin for petrel
Word Origin and History 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.