shear water

shearwater

[sheer-waw-ter, -wot-er]
noun
any of several long-winged petrels of the genus Puffinus that appear to shear the water with their wing tips when flying low.

Origin:
1665–75; shear + water

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World English Dictionary
shearwater (ˈʃɪəˌwɔːtə)
 
n
any of several oceanic birds of the genera Puffinus, such as P. puffinus (Manx shearwater), Procellaria, etc, specialized for an aerial or aquatic existence: family Procellariidae, order Procellariiformes (petrels)
 
[C17: so named because their wings seem to clip the waves when they are flying low]

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