Definition of owl in English:

owl

noun

  • 1A nocturnal bird of prey with large eyes, a facial disc, a hooked beak, and typically a loud hooting call.

    • ‘What concerns bird lovers is that owls are birds of prey - and they don't make good pets.’
    • ‘Short-eared Owls are medium-sized owls with mottled brown and buff plumage.’
    • ‘In a peak year for hares, the hares edged out the voles as a source of meat for both adult owls and their owlets.’
    • ‘The crickets chirped, and the owls hooted, praising natures majesty.’
    • ‘One element is the bird's facial disc, also found in other owls but best developed in the super-eared barn owl.’
    • ‘As raptors like hawks and owls prey on the rodents, they risk being hit by a car.’
    • ‘And most important, the trees are homes for small animals like squirrels and chipmunks, and birds like owls and robins.’
    • ‘Flammulated Owls are small owls with short ear-tufts that can be held erect or flush to the head.’
    • ‘In the ever-present darkness that shrouds Dudleytown Hill, owls are said to hoot throughout the day.’
    • ‘Boreal Owls, known in Eurasia as Tengmalm's Owls, are small owls of the north.’
    • ‘In winter, when invertebrates are scarce, owls that remain at northern latitudes take largely vertebrate prey.’
    • ‘The Barn Owl is a gray-and-tawny owl with a white, heart-shaped face and dark eyes.’
    • ‘Like most owls, Great Horned Owls have keen hearing and keen vision in low light, both adaptations for hunting at night.’
    • ‘The nocturnal owls, nightjars, and allies often are poorly known, and very few species have been studied in detail.’
    • ‘In truth, owls are magnificent birds, hunters of the dark that keep dangerous rodent populations well in check.’
    • ‘Common predators of house sparrows include cats and other mammalian predators, birds of prey, and owls.’
    • ‘The night was still and no sound was heard, apart from the occasional hoot of the owl, the master of the shadows.’
    • ‘The noise reduction achieved from the tattered fringe makes owls the quietest flying birds, Lilley said.’
    • ‘The great majority of past studies in this area have been on birds of prey and owls.’
    • ‘An owl hooted and the sound reverberated off into the night, fading away into the distance until silence resumed once more.’
    1. 1.1informal A person who habitually goes to bed late and feels energetic in the evening.
      Often contrasted with lark
      • ‘Charlie is more of an owl - he likes to stay awake as long as he can at night and to take his time waking in the morning.’
      • ‘Ideally, people should wake at the same time everyday, but being an owl, you can probably cope quite well when your sleep pattern is disrupted.’

Origin

Old English ūle, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch uil and German Eule, from a base imitative of the bird's call.

Pronunciation

owl

/aʊl/