Advertisement
2 entries found.
Search filter: All Results 
petrel (n.)

small black and white seabird, 1670s, pitteral, modern spelling first recorded 1703 by English explorer William Dampier (1651-1715), who wrote that the bird was so called from its way of flying with its feet just skimming the surface of the water, which recalls the apostle's walk on the Sea of Galilee (Matthew xiv.28); if so, it likely was formed in English as a diminutive of Peter (Late Latin Petrus). If this is folk etymology, the true source of the name is undiscovered. French pétrel (1760) probably is from English.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
prion (n.)

petrel-like bird, 1848, from the Modern Latin name in zoology (1799), from Greek priōn "a saw," related to priein, prizein "to saw, to be cut in pieces," which is of uncertain etymology. So called for its saw-like bill.

Related entries & more