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screech owl

or screech-owl

any of numerous small American owls of the genus Otus, having hornlike tufts of feathers, as O. asio, of eastern North America.
(not in technical use) any owl having a harsh cry, especially the barn owl.
Origin of screech owl
1585-95 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for screech-owl
Historical Examples
  • Hence, screech-owl—bird of ill; hence, wretch, lest I come down and beat thee!

  • The screech-owl in the yew-tree emitted a blood-curdling scream.

    They and I Jerome K. Jerome
  • Then it was gone, gliding away upon silent wing, and he had sufficient commonsense to attribute the sound to a screech-owl.

    The New Forest Spy George Manville Fenn
  • Smiling, she gave the Caliph her hand, and said, “Know you your screech-owl no longer?”

    The Oriental Story Book Wilhelm Hauff
  • Perhaps a screech-owl would whistle his plaintive call in the ghostly orchard.

    Penguin Persons & Peppermints Walter Prichard Eaton
  • He said there wasn't anything—he told us it was a screech-owl.

    Good Indian B. M. Bower
  • As he did so, there resounded again, simultaneously, the howl of the yard dog and the death-cry of the screech-owl.

  • “I expect that was a screech-owl, Lizzie,” interrupted Laura.

    The Girls of Central High in Camp Gertrude W. Morrison
  • I heard the screech-owl once or twice, which caused me to tremble more than the cold.

    For Faith and Freedom Walter Besant
  • And he called Louise to witness that he had been called a screech-owl.

    The Outrage Annie Vivanti
British Dictionary definitions for screech-owl

screech owl

a small North American owl, Otus asio, having ear tufts and a reddish-brown or grey plumage
(Brit) any owl that utters a screeching cry
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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