One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1An American nightjar with sharply pointed wings.
Family Caprimulgidae: four genera and several species, in particular the common nighthawk (Chordeiles minor)
- ‘Some species with large mouths and small bills, such as nighthawks, whip-poor wills, and the aptly named frogmouth owls, open their bills wide as they fly into insects, and the prey is captured in the birds’ gaping maws.’
- ‘Swallows, swifts and nighthawks, all pursuing flying insects, fly erratically.’
- ‘The nighthawk belongs to the Family Caprimulgidae, a group of nocturnal and crepuscular birds also known as the nightjars.’
- ‘It is smaller than a nighthawk, with a shorter tail.’
- ‘Although this is desert, there is an incredible diversity of bird life along the river and in other areas of the park - mourning doves, American kestrel falcons, nighthawks and brown thrashers are just a few of the birds that call it home.’
2informal A person who is habitually active or wakeful at night.another term for night owl
- ‘Few people were out since it was so late, though it was hard to avoid the nighthawks.’
- ‘The first kicks off at 8: 30 while for the nighthawks, a second session will begin at 11: 30.’
- ‘Suitably soporific, it's one for sophisticated nighthawks only.’
- ‘He has a job, a home, he can come and go; he can look at the customers with a half-smile. It is the customers who are the nighthawks.’
- ‘Aping the seventies, this bar is for lounging and proves very popular among the more sophisticated of nighthawks prior to later excesses of the night.’
- ‘The nighthawks sit alone, lost in their individual thoughts, as if in a glass bowl.’
- ‘His people were never the iconic nighthawks Edward Hopper found at the diner.’
- ‘I'm a real nighthawk and I love chatting to listeners about what's on their minds.’
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