One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Chiefly United States regional. The black-crowned night heron, Nycticorax nycticorax, which has a deep, hoarse call.
2The harsh call of a night heron, duck, or other bird.
no object Of a bird or other creature, especially a rook, crow, or domestic fowl: to utter a harsh call or quawk; to squawk.
Mid 19th century. Imitative. Compare earlier quawk and also squawk<br>early 19th century; earliest use found in John Clare (1793–1864), poet, farm labourer, and naturalist. Imitative. Compare quawk, earlier cawk, and also squawk.
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