water hen
Gallinule Gal"li*nule, n. [L. gallinula chicken, dim. of gallina hen: cf. F. gallinule.] (Zo["o]l.) One of several wading birds, having long, webless toes, and a frontal shield, belonging to the family {Rallidae}. They are remarkable for running rapidly over marshes and on floating plants. The purple gallinule of America is {Ionornis Martinica}, that of the Old World is {Porphyrio porphyrio}. The common European gallinule ({Gallinula chloropus}) is also called {moor hen}, {water hen}, {water rail}, {moor coot}, {night bird}, and erroneously {dabchick}. Closely related to it is the Florida gallinule ({Gallinula galeata}). [1913 Webster]

Note: The purple gallinule of Southern Europe and Asia was formerly believed to be able to detect and report adultery, and for that reason, chiefly, it was commonly domesticated by the ancients. [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Water hen — Wa ter hen 1. (Zo[ o]l.) Any gallinule. [1913 Webster] 2. (Zo[ o]l.) The common American coot. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • water hen — n. any of various birds (family Rallidae), including certain gallinules and the American coot (Fulica americana) …   English World dictionary

  • water hen — noun 1. a coot found in North America • Syn: ↑American coot, ↑marsh hen, ↑mud hen, ↑Fulica americana • Hypernyms: ↑coot • Member Holonyms: ↑Fulica, ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • water hen — wa′ter hen or wa′ter•hen n. 1) orn moorhen 2) orn the American coot Fulica americana[/ex] • Etymology: 1520–30 …   From formal English to slang

  • water hen — noun Date: circa 1529 any of various birds (as a coot or gallinule) of the rail family …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • water hen — 1. moorhen (def. 1). 2. the American coot, Fulica americana. Also, waterhen. [1520 30] * * *       bird species also called common gallinule. See gallinule. * * * …   Universalium

  • water hen — noun the moorhen …   Wiktionary

  • water-hen — n. Gallinule, spotted crake (Crex porzana or Gallinula chloropus) …   New dictionary of synonyms

  • water-hen — …   Useful english dictionary

  • spotted water hen — noun see spotted rail …   Useful english dictionary

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