Etymology
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rara avis (n.)

c. 1600, "peculiar person, person of a type seldom encountered," from Latin rara avis, literally "strange bird," from rara, fem. of rarus "rare" (see rare (adj.1)) + avis "bird" (see aviary). Latin plural is raræ aves. A phrase used of Horace's peacock (a Roman delicacy), Juvenal's black swan ("Rara avis in terris, nigroque simillima cygno"). A figure perhaps natural to the superstitious Romans, who divined by bird-watching.

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sandpiper (n.)

common name of a small wading bird that runs along the sand and utters a piping note, 1670s, from sand (n.) + piper.

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stool pigeon (n.)

"police informer," 1859, American English; earlier "one who betrays the unwary (or is used to betray them)," 1821, originally a decoy bird (1812); said to be from decoys being fastened to stools to lure other pigeons. But perhaps related to stall "decoy bird" (c. 1500), especially "a pigeon used to entice a hawk into the net" (see stall (n.2)). Also see pigeon.

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