One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A large seabird with mainly white plumage, which catches fish by plunging into the water.
Genus Morus (or Sula), family Sulidae: three species, in particular the northern gannet (M. bassanus) of the North Atlantic (also called "solan goose")
- ‘The air and sea were alive with graceful gannets, bumble-bee-like puffins and delicate shearwaters.’
- ‘Around the rocky shores sea birds such as gulls, terns, cormorants, gannets and puffins nested in the cliffs and dunes.’
- ‘Here, you can watch seabirds such as gannets and puffins up close - or stay inside and watch live videos, using remote control television cameras, from the nearby seabird colonies.’
- ‘Usually you can expect to see great numbers of pelagic birds - gannets, shearwaters, jaegers, storm-petrels, alcids - that live mainly at sea.’
- ‘As gannets are very buoyant, they need to hit the water at high speed, wings open for maximum control until about half a second prior to impact when they tuck their wings tightly into their bodies to avoid injury and increase penetration.’
- ‘They can also see puffins, ospreys, ptarmigans, gannets, and a springtime explosion of breeding birds on the coastal cliffs.’
- ‘Already birdwatchers flock to the area to gaze at kittiwake, razorbills, gannets and puffins at Bempton Cliffs, while further down the coast at Blacktoft Sands the reedbeds provide a home for other rare breeds.’
- ‘Many of the nesting birds live in colonies: the northern gannet, the blacklegged kittiwake, the heron, the double-crested shag, the thick-billed murre, the Atlantic puffin, and the razorbill.’
- ‘It was the noise of thousands of baby cormorants, razorbills, gannets and guillemots, demanding food from their nests on the cliffs.’
- ‘Many species - including gannets, puffins, guillemots, and kittiwakes - nest on cuffs over 900 feet high.’
- ‘Fall, of course, is the best time to see migrants: peregrine falcons, merlins, and flocks of tree swallows at Assateague; northern gannets just offshore; and plenty of Canadian and snow geese soaring above.’
- ‘We had seen guillemots, gannets, razorbills, puffins and cormorants by the time we reached the first of the four shipwrecks we would dive over this weekend.’
- ‘Although the gannets and other seabirds that nest at Bempton in their tens of thousands have now left the area for a winter at sea, there will still be birds to see at the reserve over the coming months.’
- ‘Some 100 acres of his farm runs on to the Flamborough Head clifftops, next door to the RSPB sanctuary, with puffins, guillemots and gannets flying below and birds like linnets, grey partridge and corn bunting in the fields.’
- ‘Bempton is the largest seabird colony in England and is home to a breathtaking array of gannets, guillemots, razorbills, kittiwakes, fulmars - and puffins.’
- ‘Great skuas, gannets, fulmars, blackheaded gulls and a few guillemots played like children.’
- ‘It does untold damage to the numerous pelagic seabirds indigenous to the area: murres, puffins and gannets.’
- ‘While there are few wild animals in Iceland, there is abundant birdlife - ducks, geese and, among the many sea-birds I spotted, petrels, puffins, tern, gannets, skuas and shearwaters.’
- ‘It is here we find the boobies, shearwaters, gannets, petrels, and the albatross.’
- ‘These observations have implications for our understanding of the foraging capabilities of gannets, and the interactions of gannets with commercially targeted fish species.’
2British informal A greedy person.
- ‘Do you find yourself saying "I shouldn't eat that, but I'm such a gannet that I'm going to"?’
Old English ganot, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch gent ‘gander’, also to gander.
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