Definition of guano in English:



mass noun
  • 1The excrement of seabirds and bats, used as fertilizer.

    • ‘They roost on an offshore platform erected to collect guano (bird droppings).’
    • ‘They rip up bin bags, deposit vast quantities of guano on our favourite statuary, and even attack people.’
    • ‘He has drawn particular attention to the amount of organic waste once generated by the seabird colonies - mainly guano, but also lost eggs, dead birds, spilled food, and molted feathers.’
    • ‘Whole cliffs of guano, the soluble nitrogen-rich excreta of seabirds, had piled high on a few rainless islands off the shores of Peru.’
    • ‘In 1856 Congress authorised the annexation of any uninhabited or unclaimed island from which guano could be recovered, and more than seventy Pacific and Caribbean islands were commandeered in the next thirty years.’
    • ‘We sat for ages, just gazing at the Bass Rock, its thick covering of guano making it glisten like a wedding cake in the sun.’
    • ‘Their droppings over the centuries have coated offshore islands with guano hundreds of feet think.’
    • ‘This was due to their appeal as a visual spectacle and because they became economically important as high producers of guano, droppings that the country mined and exported around the world for fertilizer.’
    • ‘On islands off of the coasts of Peru and Chile, penguin eggs and guano (dry bird droppings) are collected for local use.’
    • ‘Millennia of visiting seabirds left large fossilized guano deposits on Nauru.’
    • ‘As they'd noted, this area had a somewhat disused look to it, for the floor was covered with a conglomeration of dirt, guano and silt interspersed with crumbling bits of masonry or fallen pillars.’
    • ‘Between 1850 and 1870 some 37,000 tonnes of guano were mined and trammed off Middle Island to tall sailing ships bound for developing agriculture markets in Europe.’
    • ‘Between 1848-1875 20 million tons of guano was exported from Peru to North America and Europe.’
    • ‘Those islanders were forced to work under horrific conditions in the guano mines of Peru.’
    • ‘The copious guano deposition from sea birds may play a role in maintaining the present assemblage of vascular plants on both islands.’
    • ‘Johnston Island was annexed into the United States as a guano island under the Guano Act of 1856.’
    • ‘From there the Charles Stewart crossed the Pacific to load guano in Chile for delivery to Spain via Cape Horn.’
    • ‘He exploited the economic benefits of guano, a bird dung collected from islands off the coast of Peru and sold to Europe for fertilizer, as well as desert deposits of sodium nitrate, which was used to make munitions and fertilizer.’
    • ‘He claimed Midway for the U.S., based on the Guano Acts of 1856, which authorized Americans to temporarily occupy uninhabited islands to obtain guano.’
    • ‘Here the island dips into a broad, shallow depression where guano was once mined.’
    1. 1.1 An artificial fertilizer resembling natural guano, especially one made from fish.
      fertilizer, mulch
      View synonyms


Early 17th century: from Spanish, or from Latin American Spanish huano, from Quechua huanu ‘dung’.