from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Either of two gray gulls, Rissa tridactyla or R. brevirostris of northern oceans, that nest in colonies on sea cliffs.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A gull of the genus Rissa, family Laridæ, having the hind toe unusually short or rudimentary, the wings extremely long, a bill with an acute decurved tip, and peculiarly colored primaries.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Zoöl.) A northern gull (Rissa tridactyla), inhabiting the coasts of Europe and America. It is white, with black tips to the wings, and has only three toes.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Either of two small gulls in the genus Rissa of the family Laridae that nest in colonies on sea cliffs and spend the winter on the open ocean.

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

  • noun small pearl-grey gull of northern regions; nests on cliffs and has a rudimentary hind toe


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

[Perhaps imitative of its cry.]


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word kittiwake.


  • Among the birds of the north the kittiwake is the best builder; for its nest is walled with straw and mud, and is very firm.

    The Voyage of the Vega round Asia and Europe, Volume I and Volume II Alexander Leslie 1866

  • Great black-backed gull (Larus marinus) Black-legged kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla) III

    Management and conservation of marine mammals and seabirds in the Arctic 2009

  • A number of arctic marine mammal and bird species are circumpolar, and are represented by several populations and even subspecies (e.g., the bowhead whale, walrus, bearded seal, ringed seal, herring gull (Larus argentatus), glaucous gull (L. hyperboreus), and kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla)).

    Management and conservation of marine mammals and seabirds in the Arctic 2009

  • Other uncommon species are golden eagle Aquila chrysaetos, redlegged kittiwake Rissa brevirostris (VU), and spotted greenshank Tringa guttifer (EN).

    Volcanoes of Kamchatka, Russian Federation 2008

  • But sometimes the soul does come up, shoots like a kittiwake into the light, with ecstasy, after having preyed on the submarine depths.

    Lady Chatterley's Lover 2004

  • From Bevis arrived a wooden box containing a kittiwake, which he had stuffed himself, with wings outspread.

    Monitress Merle Angela Brazil 1907

  • Silent, silent: for neither snort of walrus, nor yelp of fox, nor cry of startled kittiwake, did I hear: but all was still as the jet-black shadow of the cliffs and glacier on the tranquil sea: and many bodies of dead things strewed the surface of the water.

    The Purple Cloud 1906

  • Some gulls, however, are able to plunge farther below the surface than others, and the little kittiwake is perhaps the most expert diver of them all, though in no sense at home under water like the shag.

    Birds in the Calendar 1894

  • She was coming up from the south under jib, foresail, and mainsail; but even as we watched her all her white canvas shut suddenly in, like a kittiwake closing her wings, and we saw the splash of her anchor just under her bowsprit.

    The Great Shadow and Other Napoleonic Tales Arthur Conan Doyle 1894

  • Not even the cry of a sea-mew or kittiwake broke the almost deathlike stillness, -- no breath of wind stirred a ripple on the glassy water.

    Thelma Marie Corelli 1889


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • kittiwake* - mousiessleep

    kittisleep - mousiesplay

    *: unless, of course, the kittiwake in question is because all nine lives have been used up, in which case mousiespartayallthelivelongday!

    September 24, 2009

  • I do believe kittycorner needs to be factored into the dictum.

    September 24, 2009