raptorial bird, 1874, from Latin accipiter, a generic name for birds of prey, especially the common hawk. According to de Vaan, "generally assumed" to be from a Proto-Italic *aku-petri- "having pointed (that is, 'swift') wings" (see acro- + ptero-) and compares Greek okypteros "with swift wings," Sanskrit asu-patvan- "flying swiftly," "all of which are used as epithets to birds of prey." Under this theory the initial acc- is by influence of the verb accipere "to take" (whence also Latin acceptor "falcon;" see accept). Or the sense could be literal, "with pointed wings." The proper plural would be accipitres. Related: Accipitral; accipitrine (1809).
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