[rap-ter, -tawr]


a raptorial bird.

Origin of raptor

1600–10; < Latin raptor one who seizes by force, robber, equivalent to rap(ere) (see rape1) + -tor -tor
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for raptor



another name for bird of prey
informal a carnivorous bipedal dinosaur of the late Cretaceous period

Word Origin for raptor

C17: from Latin: plunderer, from rapere to take by force
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 raptor

c.1600, "ravisher, abductor," from Latin raptor "a robber, plunderer, abductor, ravisher," agent noun from past participle stem of rapere "to seize" (see rapid). Ornithological use is from 1873 (1823 in Latin plural Raptores).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

raptor in Science



A bird of prey, such as a hawk, eagle, or owl.
Any of various mostly small, slender, carnivorous dinosaurs of the Cretaceous Period. Raptors had hind legs that were adapted for leaping and large, curved claws used for grasping and tearing at prey. Raptors were probably related to birds, and some even had feathers.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.