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pelican

[pel-i-kuh n] /ˈpɛl ɪ kən/
noun
1.
any of several large, totipalmate, fish-eating birds of the family Pelecanidae, having a large bill with a distensible pouch.
2.
a still or retort with two tubes that leave the body from the neck, curve in opposite directions, and reenter the body through the belly.
Origin
1000
before 1000; Middle English pellican, Old English < Late Latin pelicānus, variant of pelecān < Greek pelekā́n
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for pelican
  • For every pelican or whale found beached or floating at sea, some much larger number died.
  • The brown pelican nesting grounds are a critical part of the pelicans habitat.
British Dictionary definitions for pelican

pelican

/ˈpɛlɪkən/
noun
1.
any aquatic bird of the tropical and warm water family Pelecanidae, such as P. onocrotalus (white pelican): order Pelecaniformes. They have a long straight flattened bill, with a distensible pouch for engulfing fish
Word Origin
Old English pellican, from Late Latin pelicānus, from Greek pelekān; perhaps related to Greek pelekus axe, perhaps from the shape of the bird's bill; compare Greek pelekas woodpecker
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 pelican
n.

Old English pellicane, from Late Latin pelecanus, from Greek pelekan "pelican" (so used by Aristotle), apparently related to pelekas "woodpecker" and pelekys "ax," perhaps so called from the shape of the bird's bill. Spelling influenced in Middle English by Old French pelican. Used in Septuagint to translate Hebrew qaath. The fancy that it feeds its young on its own blood is an Egyptian tradition properly belonging to some other bird. Louisiana has been known as the Pelican state at least since 1859.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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