from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A tern; any bird of the family Laridæ and subfamily Sterninæ: so called from the long pointed wings, long forked tail, and slender form of most of these birds, whose flight and carriage resemble those of swallows. See cuts under Sterna, tern, roseate, Gygis, Hydrochelidon, and Inca.
  • noun The stormy petrel, Procellaria pelagica. See cut under petrel.
  • noun In heraldry, same as aylet.
  • noun A West Indian name for the flying-fish. See flying-fish .


Sorry, no etymologies found.


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  • "Ho! ho!" cried Peter, with his hearty laugh, "she will always hear a step, or the wing of a sea-swallow flying overhead, or perhaps a crab crawling in the bay, if Peter is not at home to take care of her."

    A Loose End and Other Stories S. Elizabeth Hall

  • The latter, however, always keep at a respectable distance, for powerful as they are, they possess little of the courage which has in all ages been attributed to them, being in this respect much inferior to the domestic cock, the raven, the sea-swallow, and a hundred other birds.

    The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction Volume 14, No. 403, December 5, 1829 Various

  • It is made by a kind of sea-swallow, and in appearance resembles vermicelli, variegated with blood-coloured spots.

    The Philippine Islands John Foreman

  • The sea-swallow, whirling through the azure heavens, soars thus over the blade of grass that marks its nest.

    The French Immortals Series — Complete Various

  • Nova Scotia come vividly to mind; the cry of a sea-swallow makes real again the white beaches of Virginia; to me a cardinal has in its song the feathery lagoons of Florida's Indian River, while the shriek of a macaw and its antithesis, the silvery, interlacing melodies of the solitaire, spell the farthest _barrancas_ of Mexico, with the vultures ever circling overhead, and the smoke clouds of the volcano in the distance.

    The Log of the Sun A Chronicle of Nature's Year William Beebe 1919

  • The vision of his sea-swallow, her white wings gleaming in the sun as she dropped anchor in that still harbour; the vision of the white and rose-coloured city stretched like an encircling arm around the turquoise waters, these dreams faded relentlessly from his sight.

    A Book of Quaker Saints 1911

  • ‘For six days we sailed by day and night continually; but when Zeus, son of Cronos, added the seventh day thereto, then Artemis, the archer, smote the woman that she fell, as a sea-swallow falls, with a plunge into the hold.

    Book XV Homer 1909

  • There are several kinds, and they rise as we pass, and I see, for the first time, the Roseate Tern, a sea-swallow with deep lavender and black feathers, rather telling with its scarlet bill.

    From Edinburgh to India & Burmah 1900

  • Possibly the halcyon was a tern or sea-swallow, which resembles a kingfisher, but they brood on land.

    NPNF2-08. Basil: Letters and Select Works 1895

  • The shearwater was a larger species of tern, or sea-swallow; the

    The Wreck of the Nancy Bell Cast Away on Kerguelen Land 1887


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