Tern Tern (t[~e]rn), n. [Dan. terne, t[ae]rne; akin to Sw. t["a]rna, Icel. [thorn]erna; cf. NL. sterna.] (Zo["o]l.) Any one of numerous species of long-winged aquatic birds, allied to the gulls, and belonging to {Sterna} and various allied genera. [1913 Webster]

Note: Terns differ from gulls chiefly in their graceful form, in their weaker and more slender bills and feet, and their longer and more pointed wings. The tail is usually forked. Most of the species are white with the back and wings pale gray, and often with a dark head. The common European tern ({Sterna hirundo}) is found also in Asia and America. Among other American species are the arctic tern ({Sterna paradis[ae]a}), the roseate tern ({Sterna Dougalli}), the least tern ({Sterna Antillarum}), the royal tern ({Sterna maxima}), and the sooty tern ({Sterna fuliginosa}). [1913 Webster]

{Hooded tern}. See {Fairy bird}, under {Fairy}.

{Marsh tern}, any tern of the genus {Hydrochelidon}. They frequent marshes and rivers and feed largely upon insects.

{River tern}, any tern belonging to {Se["e]na} or allied genera which frequent rivers.

{Sea tern}, any tern of the genus {Thalasseus}. Terns of this genus have very long, pointed wings, and chiefly frequent seas and the mouths of large rivers. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • Tern — Tern, a. [L. pl. terni three each, three; akin to tres three. See {Three}, and cf. {Trine}.] Threefold; triple; consisting of three; ternate. [1913 Webster] {Tern flowers} (Bot.), flowers growing three and three together. {Tern leaves} (Bot.),… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • tern — TERN, Ă, terni, e, adj. (livr.) Fără luciu, şters, spălăcit; fig. fără relief, fără culoare; mohorât, monoton. – Din fr. terne. Trimis de ana zecheru, 13.09.2007. Sursa: DEX 98  TERN adj. v. anost, banal, comun, monoton, placid, plictisitor,… …   Dicționar Român

  • Tern — Tern, n. [F. terne. See {Tern}, a.] That which consists of, or pertains to, three things or numbers together; especially, a prize in a lottery resulting from the favorable combination of three numbers in the drawing; also, the three numbers… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • tern — (n.) gull like shore bird (subfamily Sterninae), 1670s, via E.Anglian dialect, from a Scandinavian source (Cf. Dan. terne, Swed. tärna, Færoese terna) related to O.N. þerna tern, cognate with O.E. stearn starling …   Etymology dictionary

  • tern — sb., en el. et, er el. tern, e(r)ne …   Dansk ordbog

  • tern — Mot Monosíl·lab Nom masculí …   Diccionari Català-Català

  • tern — [tə:n US tə:rn] n [Date: 1600 1700; Origin: From a Scandinavian language] a black and white sea bird that has long wings and a tail with two points …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • tern — [ tɜrn ] noun count a bird that lives by the ocean. It is similar to a SEAGULL …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • tern — ► NOUN ▪ a seabird resembling a gull but smaller and more slender, with long pointed wings and a forked tail. ORIGIN Scandinavian …   English terms dictionary

  • tern — [tʉrn] n. [< ON therna, via E Anglian dial.; akin to OE stearna] any of several shorebirds (family Laridae) with webbed feet, a deeply forked tail, a straight bill, and a slender body; sea swallow …   English World dictionary

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