Definition of whippoorwill in US English:



  • A North and Central American nightjar with a distinctive call.

    Caprimulgus vociferus, family Caprimulgidae

    • ‘A distant relative of the whippoorwill, the potoo feeds mainly at night, opening its short, curved bill very wide to sweep up flying insects.’
    • ‘In another, looking for advice on how to grieve the loss of a loved one, he consults with whippoorwills and killer whales - animals renowned for their own sad songs.’
    • ‘Smart men supposedly ignored dizzy dames and all the rest, listening not to the whippoorwill but to cash registers.’
    • ‘replied the second voice, and with that, the soft whistle of a whippoorwill's call echoed around the manor.’
    • ‘Morhi shuddered as a whippoorwill called in the distant southern pines… She was a descendant of Jaxis White-Flame and Beast Who Never Tamed and she had her Phoenix Flame attack.’
    • ‘Transplant main-season tomatoes, peppers and eggplants four days after the whippoorwill first sings and finish when oak leaves are quarter size.’
    • ‘The area's forests, grasslands, scrublands, and pine barrens will now be managed to protect the public water supply and habitat for wildlife such as whippoorwills, upland sandpipers, and eastern box turtles.’
    • ‘Owls called to each other in the distance; somewhere a whippoorwill cried.’
    • ‘We even visited the walkway at night with the good fortune of looking down on one of the rarest birds of our trip, a brown nightjar, a not too distant relative of our whippoorwill, but a very rare and little-known bird.’
    • ‘Moreover, the manner in which the broken branch is rendered in the Drayton watercolor of the whippoorwill (P1.’
    • ‘We had the whippoorwill, the hoot owl and crickets for music.’
    • ‘And what is there to life if a man cannot hear the lonely cry of the whippoorwill or the arguments of the frogs around a pond at night?’
    • ‘The whippoorwills begin to sing each evening at 7: 30.’


Early 18th century: imitative of its call.