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[awk] /ɔk/
any of several usually black-and-white diving birds of the family Alcidae, of northern seas, having webbed feet and small wings.
Origin of auk
1665-75; < Scandinavian; compare Old Norse alka Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for auk
Historical Examples
  • The puffin uses its wings under the water, and so do the other members of the auk family.

  • Oolichuk continued this process until the first auk was finished.

    The Giant of the North R.M. Ballantyne
  • About three o'clock the Countess of auk's carriage was summoned, and the company began to retire.

    Comical People Unknown
  • But there was a deplorable lack of information about the haunts and habits of the auk.

    The Land of Thor J. Ross Browne
  • As the official organ of the Union, 'The auk' is the leading ornithological publication of this country.

  • Upon the whole, I thought it would not do to depend upon the auk.

    The Land of Thor J. Ross Browne
  • “King penguin” is another of its names, from its superior size, as it is the largest of the auk or penguin family.

    The Land of Fire Mayne Reid
  • Of all the auk tribe, so far as my experience goes, the Puffin flies the most.

    British Sea Birds Charles Dixon
  • I feel, somehow, that this man Halyard has got an auk—perhaps two.

    In Search of the Unknown Robert W. Chambers
  • Directly north of the latter island is Mendenhall Glacier, formerly known as the auk.

    Alaska Ella Higginson
British Dictionary definitions for auk


any of various diving birds of the family Alcidae of northern oceans having a heavy body, short tail, narrow wings, and a black-and-white plumage: order Charadriiformes See also great auk, razorbill auk
little auk, dovekie, a small short-billed auk, Plautus alle, abundant in Arctic regions
Word Origin
C17: from Old Norse ālka; related to Swedish alka, Danish alke
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for auk

1670s, from a Scandinavian source, cf. Old Norse alka, probably originally imitative of a water-bird cry (cf. Latin olor "swan," Greek elea "marsh bird").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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