• synonyms


  1. Also called bonxie. any of several large brown gull-like predatory birds of the genus Catharacta, related to jaegers, especially C. skua (great skua), of colder waters of both northern and southern seas.
  2. British. jaeger(def 1).
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Origin of skua

1670–80; < Faeroese skū(g)vur; cognate with Old Norse skūfr tassel, tuft, also skua (in poetry), akin to shove1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for skua

Historical Examples of skua

  • His special dish was penguins and skua gulls in cream sauce.

    The South Pole, Volumes 1 and 2

    Roald Amundsen

  • Few birds are so courageous in defence of their nests as the Skua.

    British Sea Birds

    Charles Dixon

  • More nimble than he, the skua evaded the blow, and caught him by the neck.

    Neighbors Unknown

    Charles G. D. Roberts

  • But in that same instant the long beak of the skua caught it by the head.

    Neighbors Unknown

    Charles G. D. Roberts

  • From the promontory came a cry: abrupt, strident—the hunger-note of a skua.

British Dictionary definitions for skua


  1. any predatory gull-like bird of the family Stercorariidae, such as the great skua or bonxie (Stercorarius skua) or arctic skua (S. parasiticus) both of which harass terns or gulls into dropping or disgorging fish they have caught
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Word Origin for skua

C17: from New Latin, from Faeroese skūgvur, from Old Norse skūfr
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 skua


type of predatory gull, 1670s, from Faeroese skugvur, related to Old Norse skufr "seagull, tuft, tassel," and possibly to skauf "fox's tail."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper