from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Any of several diving sea birds (family Alcidae) of northern regions, such as the razor-billed auk, having a chunky body, short wings, and webbed feet.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any of several species of Arctic sea birds of the family Alcidae.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A name given to various species of arctic sea birds of the family Alcidæ. The great auk, now extinct, is Alca impennis (or Plautus impennis) . The razor-billed auk is Alca torda. See puffin, guillemot, and murre.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Same as awk.
  • n. A diving bird belonging to the family Alcidæ and the order Pygopodes, characterized by having 3 toes, webbed feet, and short wings and tail.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. black-and-white short-necked web-footed diving bird of northern seas


Norwegian alk, from Old Norse ālka.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Icelandic álka, from Old Norse álka ("auk"), from Proto-Germanic *allakōn, *allōn (“sea-bird”), from Proto-Indo-European *el- (a kind of bird). Cognate with Swedish alka ("auk"), Danish alke ("auk"), Swedish dialectal alla (fuligula glacialis, "long-tailed duck"), Latin olor ("swan"), Ancient Greek ελέα (eléa, "marsh-bird"), Welsh alarch ("swan"). (Wiktionary)



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  • The little auk is also known as the dovekie.

    November 26, 2008

  • The auk
    Is awkward
    When it walks --

    And when it talks
    It talks
    In squawks.

    November 14, 2008

  • Sarra, another RSPB fan here. :-)

    November 14, 2008

  • Awwwwww. My heart is warmed, skip.

    November 14, 2008

  • I think it's been done, John. Remember Vi?

    November 14, 2008

  • That surprises you, John? ;-)

    November 14, 2008

  • Nor to be confused with the text-processing language awk. Which was on my short list of kid's names back when I was trying to convince my wife that all our children should be named after Unix command-line utilities: little awk, his sister sed, etc. Didn't get very far with that one.

    November 14, 2008

  • Not to be confused with the Auke, an Alaska native group related to the Tlingit. Hence Auke Bay, Alaska (near Juneau), which has no auks.

    November 14, 2008

  • I've never actually seen these birds. Does an auk walk aukwardly?

    November 14, 2008

  • Reminds me I need to link the sound file back to the RSPB whence it was pilfered. Coff! (No-one had listed little auk…)

    November 14, 2008

  • Me? But why would I make a bird list? Silly idea.

    BAhahaha! I knew I couldn't keep a straight face on that one!

    November 13, 2008

  • Yeah, you should make a bird list, rt.

    November 13, 2008

  • Ahem--so where is this list, reesetee?

    November 13, 2008

  • It's on my Coolest Birds Ever list. Even more charming in person.

    November 13, 2008

  • The sound file is great! Auksome! What a Mad Clown Symphony!

    November 13, 2008

  • I have a new-found love for the little auk (Alle alle). I present to you a tribute (ongoing).

    November 13, 2008