[waw-ter-foul, wot-er-]

noun, plural wa·ter·fowls, (especially collectively) wa·ter·fowl.

a water bird, especially a swimming bird.
such birds taken collectively, especially the swans, geese, and ducks.

Origin of waterfowl

1250–1300; Middle English; cognate with German Wasservogel; see water, fowl
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for waterfowl

Contemporary Examples of waterfowl

Historical Examples of waterfowl

  • Other than waterfowl had chosen this secluded spot for their favourite dwelling-place.

    The Quadroon

    Mayne Reid

  • A shot at the waterfowl, therefore, could not be thought of.

  • Ducks, geese, and other waterfowl, came in myriads with the spring.

    Silver Lake

    R.M. Ballantyne

  • Partridges can be caught with the hand and waterfowl are pursued with the kayak.

  • The waterfowl have begun to come more and more to the pond before the house.

British Dictionary definitions for waterfowl



any aquatic freshwater bird, esp any species of the family Anatidae (ducks, geese, and swans)
such birds collectively
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 waterfowl

c.1300, from water (n.1) + fowl (n.). Cf. Old High German wazzarvogel, Dutch watervogel.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper