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bittern1

[bit-ern] /ˈbɪt ərn/
noun
1.
any of several tawny brown herons that inhabit reedy marshes, as Botaurus lentiginosus (American bittern) of North America, and B. stellaris, of Europe.
2.
any of several small herons of the genus Ixobrychus, as I. exilis (least bittern) of temperate and tropical North and South America.
Origin
1510-1520
1510-20; bitter, bittor bittern + -n (perhaps by association with heron), Middle English bito(u)r, butur, boto(u)r < Anglo-French bytore, Anglo-French, Old French butor < Vulgar Latin *būtitaurus, equivalent to *būti-, perhaps to be identified with Latin būteō a species of hawk (see buteo) + Latin taurus bull (cited by Pliny as a name for a bird emitting a bellowing sound)

bittern2

[bit-ern] /ˈbɪt ərn/
noun, Chemistry
1.
a bitter solution remaining in salt making after the salt has crystallized out of seawater or brine, used as a source of bromides, iodides, and certain other salts.
Origin
1675-85; variant of bittering; see bitter, -ing1
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for bittern
  • The handsomest was the richly colored tiger bittern.
British Dictionary definitions for bittern

bittern1

/ˈbɪtən/
noun
1.
any wading bird of the genera Ixobrychus and Botaurus, related and similar to the herons but with shorter legs and neck, a stouter body, and a booming call: family Ardeidae, order Ciconiiformes
Word Origin
C14: from Old French butor, perhaps from Latin būtiō bittern + taurus bull; referring to its cry

bittern2

/ˈbɪtən/
noun
1.
the bitter liquid remaining after common salt has been crystallized out of sea water: a source of magnesium, bromine, and iodine compounds
Word Origin
C17: variant of bittering; see bitter
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 bittern
n.

heron-like bird, 13c., botor, from Old French butor "bittern," perhaps from Gallo-Romance *butitaurus, from Latin butionem "bittern" + taurus "bull" (see steer (n.)); according to Pliny, so called because of its booming voice, but this seems fanciful. Modern form from 1510s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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bittern in the Bible

is found three times in connection with the desolations to come upon Babylon, Idumea, and Nineveh (Isa. 14:23; 34:11; Zeph. 2:14). This bird belongs to the class of cranes. Its scientific name is Botaurus stellaris. It is a solitary bird, frequenting marshy ground. The Hebrew word (kippod) thus rendered in the Authorized Version is rendered "porcupine" in the Revised Version. But in the passages noted the kippod is associated with birds, with pools of water, and with solitude and desolation. This favours the idea that not the "porcupine" but the "bittern" is really intended by the word.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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9
11
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