One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A shark of tropical and temperate oceans that has flattened blade-like extensions on either side of the head, with the eyes and nostrils placed at or near the ends.
Family Sphyrnidae and genus Sphyrna: several species
- ‘There are four species which concern us, and they are the hammerhead shark, the white shark, the bull whaler shark and the tiger shark.’
- ‘See her, in Medea, remember the hammerhead shark, play with a cigarette, remind her listeners that their tape is running out, and obsess about another, very different Billie (Holiday).’
- ‘We hooked much bigger fish than we landed and I think sharks are a possibility here, probably hammerheads and sand sharks.’
- ‘Whales, dolphins, enormous groupers, turtles, whale sharks, manta rays, great whites, hammerheads - they all play a starring role in attracting divers to worldwide destinations.’
- ‘Climate change has pushed up water temperatures, resulting in regular sightings of the smooth hammerhead shark, which is not dangerous to humans.’
2A brown African marsh bird related to the storks, having a crest that looks like a backward projection of the head, and constructing an enormous nest.
Scopus umbretta, the only member of the family ScopidaeAlso called hammerkop
- ‘The Hottentot people of southern Africa believe that the hammerhead, a wading bird, can see reflections of the future in pools of water.’
- ‘Hammerheads are, overall, rather interesting and extraordinary birds.’
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