One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
nounIrish English, Scottish, Northern
1Chiefly Irish English (northern). A tern, especially the common tern, Sterna hirundo, and the roseate tern, S. dougallii.
2The black-headed gull, Larus ridibundus.
Mid 18th century. From pirr, imitative, after the hoarse cry of the birds + maw.
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