Definition of owl in English:



  • A nocturnal bird of prey with large forward-facing eyes surrounded by facial disks, a hooked beak, and typically a loud call.

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


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