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View synonyms for tern

tern

1

[ turn ]

noun

  1. any of numerous aquatic birds of the subfamily Sterninae of the family Laridae, related to the gulls but usually having a more slender body and bill, smaller feet, a long, deeply forked tail, and a more graceful flight, especially those of the genus Sterna, as S. hirundo common tern, of Eurasia and America, having white, black, and gray plumage.


tern

2

[ turn ]

noun

  1. a set of three.
  2. three winning numbers drawn together in a lottery.
  3. a prize won by drawing these.

tern

1

/ tɜːn /

noun

  1. a three-masted schooner
  2. rare.
    a group of three


tern

2

/ tɜːn /

noun

  1. any aquatic bird of the subfamily Sterninae, having a forked tail, long narrow wings, a pointed bill, and a typically black-and-white plumage: family Laridae (gulls, etc), order Charadriiformes

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Word History and Origins

Origin of tern1

First recorded in 1670–80; from Danish terne or Norwegian terna; cognate with Old Norse therna

Origin of tern2

1300–50; Middle English terne < Middle French < Italian terno < Latin ternus, singular of ternī three each, triad, akin to ter thrice; three

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Word History and Origins

Origin of tern1

C14: from Old French terne, from Italian terno, from Latin ternī three each; related to Latin ter thrice, trēs three

Origin of tern2

C18: from Old Norse therna; related to Norwegian terna, Swedish tärna

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Example Sentences

The Common Tern is a regular but not numerous spring and autumn visitant to the Islands, some remaining to breed.

I mark this by inserting a paragraph-mark ( ) at the beginning of each tern.

Each tern is occupied with a distinct subject, which I indicate by headings, viz.

The latter had shot and wounded a tern, but before he could reach it, the helpless bird was carried off by its companions.

The common tern and the greater sand-plover nested on the shingly islands in the river.

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inveterate

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termwiseterna