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[nahyt-hawk] /ˈnaɪtˌhɔk/
any of several longwinged, American goatsuckers of the genus Chordeiles, related to the whippoorwill, especially C. minor, having variegated black, white, and buff plumage.
the European goatsucker or nightjar, Caprimulgus europaeus.
Informal. a person who is habitually up or moving about late at night; night owl.
Origin of nighthawk
1605-15; night + hawk1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for night-hawk
Historical Examples
  • As if in answer to his cry a night-hawk hooted among the rocks.

  • As she spoke a night-hawk passed with a shriek, and the evening star was hid with a cloud.

    Saronia Richard Short
  • Presently a night-hawk began to flit about me, then another and another, skimming just above the marsh as silent as the shadows.

    Roof and Meadow Dallas Lore Sharp
  • And the owl, and the night-hawk, and the cuckoo, and the hawk after his kind.

    Bible Animals; J. G. Wood
  • There goes a night-hawk, flitting by in the darkness like a ghost.

    The Romance of the Woods F. J. Whishaw
  • A night-hawk swooped past the window with a startling whirr of wings.

    Copper Coleson's Ghost Edward P. Hendrick
  • There is no use in keeping one eye open because a dry stick cracks now and then, or the night-hawk sputters as he goes by.

    A Breeze from the Woods, 2nd Ed. William Chauncey Bartlett
  • The cry of a night-hawk came, as if in answer; the hoot of an owl, as if in mockery.

  • The dim lamps of McGovern's night-hawk shone at the side of the procession and showed the crowd trailing on behind.

    Van Bibber and Others Richard Harding Davis
  • The Avenue churned with returning theater-parties and night-hawk cabs.

    Whispering Wires Henry Leverage
British Dictionary definitions for night-hawk


Also called bullbat, mosquito hawk. any American nightjar of the genus Chordeiles and related genera, having a dark plumage and, in the male, white patches on the wings and tail
(informal) another name for night owl
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 night-hawk

from 1610s in reference to various birds, from night + hawk (n.). Figurative sense of "one who stays up and is active at night" is from 1818.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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night-hawk in the Bible

(Heb. tahmas) occurs only in the list of unclean birds (Lev. 11:16; Deut. 14:15). This was supposed to be the night-jar (Caprimulgus), allied to the swifts. The Hebrew word is derived from a root meaning "to scratch or tear the face," and may be best rendered, in accordance with the ancient versions, "an owl" (Strix flammea). The Revised Version renders "night-hawk."

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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