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[gwah-noh] /ˈgwɑ noʊ/
a natural manure composed chiefly of the excrement of sea birds, found especially on islands near the Peruvian coast.
any similar substance, as an artificial fertilizer made from fish.
Origin of guano
1595-1605; < Spanish: fertilizer, dung; American Spanish huano dung < Quechua wanu dung for fuel, fertilizer Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for guano
Historical Examples
  • By the addition of sulphuric acid the ammonia was fixed, and the guano was prevented from losing its most valuable constituent.

  • He was the man who said my browns were all put in with guano.

  • In our opinion there would be such a rattling among the dry bones, we should hear no more about substituting them for guano.

    Guano Solon Robinson
  • It has been frequently objected to the use of guano, that it is not permanent.

    Guano Solon Robinson
  • Where farmyard manure is used, the guano has been recommended to be used as a top-dressing in small quantities.

  • The evidence in favor of guano in this case, needs no comment.

    Guano Solon Robinson
  • The exports include copper and silver and their ores, nitrate of soda, borax, guano and other minerals in small quantities.

  • In this case the guano was plowed in about four inches deep.

    Guano Solon Robinson
  • As to guano, it has not paid me; but that may be the fault of careless or unskillful application.

    What I know of farming: Horace Greeley
  • When assured it was all effected by guano, they went away—not satisfied—but unbelieving.

    Guano Solon Robinson
British Dictionary definitions for guano


noun (pl) -nos
  1. the dried excrement of fish-eating sea birds, deposited in rocky coastal regions of South America: contains the urates, oxalates, and phosphates of ammonium and calcium; used as a fertilizer
  2. the accumulated droppings of bats and seals
any similar but artificial substance used as a fertilizer
Word Origin
C17: from Spanish, from Quechuan huano dung
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 guano

c.1600, from Spanish guano "dung," especially of sea-birds on islands off Peru, from Quechua huanu "dung."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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guano in Science
  1. A substance composed chiefly of the dung of sea birds or bats, accumulated along certain coastal areas or in caves and used as fertilizer.

  2. Any of various similar substances, such as a fertilizer prepared from ground fish parts.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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