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sea swallow

any of several terns, especially Sterna hirundo.
British Dialect. any of several small petrels, especially the storm petrel, Hydrobates pelagicus.
Origin of sea swallow
1590-1600 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for sea-swallow
Historical Examples
  • Just then the sea-swallow shot again overhead, uttering its low, mournful cry.

  • The Italians compare it with the sea-swallow, which is a gull.

    Love's Meinie John Ruskin
  • The sea-swallow, whirling through the azure heavens, soars thus over the blade of grass that marks its nest.

    Child of a Century, Complete Alfred de Musset
  • The sea-swallow shot past him, too, with its low mournful cry.

  • The sea-swallow shot over him too, with its low, mournful cry.

    The Deemster Hall Caine
  • The birds are a species of sea-swallow which builds in cliffs and rocks.

    Fifty-One Years of Victorian Life Margaret Elizabeth Leigh Child-Villiers, Countess of Jersey
  • A name on our northern coasts for the Sterna hirundo, the tern, or sea-swallow.

    The Sailor's Word-Book William Henry Smyth
  • It is supposed that the sea-swallow derives his materials for the edible bird's nests at Borneo from this fucus.

    The Sailor's Word-Book William Henry Smyth
  • The sea-swallow is said to get his food in a very singular way.

  • Might not one fancy that he saw a sea-swallow, white as the dove of the Ark, soaring over a bottomless abyss?

    King of Camargue Jean Aicard
British Dictionary definitions for sea-swallow

sea swallow

a popular name for tern1
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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