[hwip-er-wil, wip-; hwip-er-wil, wip-]
- a nocturnal North American nightjar, Caprimulgus vociferus, having a variegated plumage of gray, black, white, and tawny.
Origin of whippoorwill
An Americanism dating back to 1700–10; imitative
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for whippoorwill
The dusk sifted in about the house, faster and faster; a whippoorwill cried from the woods.Meadow Grass
And if I win, I claim the first whippoorwill you shoot; the second may go to your aunt.The Rose of Old St. Louis
It was just at dusk, and far away somewhere a whippoorwill was calling.Red Pepper Burns
Grace S. Richmond
It belonged to the whippoorwill family, but was some larger.
The owl hooted at night, and the whippoorwill called in the twilight.Pioneers of the Old South
- a nightjar, Caprimulgus vociferus, of North and Central America, having a dark plumage with white patches on the tail
C18: imitative of its cry
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 whippoorwill
1709, imitative of its cry.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper