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kestrel

[kes-truh l] /ˈkɛs trəl/
noun
1.
a common small falcon, Falco tinnunculus, of northern parts of the Eastern Hemisphere, notable for hovering in the air with its head to the wind.
2.
any of several related small falcons, as the American kestrel, F. sparverius.
Origin
late Middle English
1400-1450
1400-50; late Middle English castrell < Middle French quercerelle, metathetic variant of crecerelle, of disputed orig.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for kestrel

kestrel

/ˈkɛstrəl/
noun
1.
any of several small falcons, esp the European Falco tinnunculus, that tend to hover against the wind and feed on small mammals on the ground
Word Origin
C15: changed from Old French cresserele, from cressele rattle, from Vulgar Latin crepicella (unattested), from Latin crepitāre to crackle, from crepāre to rustle
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for kestrel
n.

kind of falcon, c.1600, earlier castrell (15c.), probably from Middle French cresserelle, which apparently is related to crecerelle "rattle," from Latin crepitacillium "small rattle," diminutive of crepitaculum "noisy bell, rattle," from crepitare "to crackle, rattle;" possibly from the old belief that their noise frightened away other hawks.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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