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

  • n. Any of several Old World birds of the genus Vanellus related to the plovers, especially V. vanellus, having a narrow crest and erratic flight behavior. Also called green plover, pewit.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any of several medium-sized wading birds belonging to the subfamily Vanellinae of the family Charadriidae.
  • n. A silly man.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A small European bird of the Plover family (Vanellus cristatus, or Vanellus vanellus). It has long and broad wings, and is noted for its rapid, irregular fight, upwards, downwards, and in circles. Its back is coppery or greenish bronze. Its eggs are the “plover's eggs” of the London market, esteemed a delicacy. It is called also peewit, dastard plover, and wype. The gray lapwing is the Squatarola cinerea.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A plover-like bird with four toes, a crest, and lustrous plumage, belonging to the genus Vanellus and family Charadriidæ.

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

  • n. large crested Old World plover having wattles and spurs


By folk etymology from Middle English lapwink, hoopoe, lapwing, from Old English hlēapewince : hlēapan, to leap + *wincan, to waver.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old English hlēapewince, from hlēapan ‘to leap’ + *winc- ‘sway, totter’ (because of its manner of flight). The modern form is partly due to popular etymology. (Wiktionary)



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  • He names a lapwing, starts rabbits in a rout
    legging it most nimble
    to sprigged hedge of bramble,
    stalks red fox, shrewd stoat
    from "Ode for Ted," Sylvia Plath

    April 14, 2008