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shrike

[shrahyk] /ʃraɪk/
noun
1.
any of numerous predaceous oscine birds of the family Laniidae, having a strong, hooked, and toothed bill, feeding on insects and sometimes on small birds and other animals: the members of certain species impale their prey on thorns or suspend it from the branches of trees to tear it apart more easily, and are said to kill more than is necessary for them to eat.
2.
any of several other birds having similar bills, as the vanga shrikes.
3.
(initial capital letter) Military. a 10-foot (3-meter), 400-pound (180-kg) U.S. air-to-ground missile designed to destroy missile batteries by homing in on their radar emissions.
Origin
1535-1545
1535-45; perhaps continuing Old English scrīc thrush; akin to Old Norse skrīkja to twitter; see shriek
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for shrike
  • Imagine that a shrike fools other shrikes with a false alarm.
  • The loggerhead shrike, though a predatory bird, has weak feet and is unable to hold struggling prey in its grasp.
  • To immobilize prey, the shrike will often impale it on cactus spines.
  • The first recorded sighting of a northern shrike on the refuge was an exciting experience for a number of staff and volunteers.
British Dictionary definitions for shrike

shrike

/ʃraɪk/
noun
1.
Also called butcherbird. any songbird of the chiefly Old World family Laniidae, having a heavy hooked bill and feeding on smaller animals which they sometimes impale on thorns, barbed wire, etc See also bush shrike (sense 1)
2.
any of various similar but unrelated birds, such as the cuckoo shrikes
3.
shrike thrush, shrike tit, another name for thickhead (sense 2)
Word Origin
Old English scrīc thrush; related to Middle Dutch schrīk corncrake; see screech1, shriek
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 shrike
n.

1540s, apparently from a survival of Old English scric "a shrike or thrush," literally "bird with a shrill call," probably echoic of its cry and related to shriek (cf. Old Norse skrikja "shrieker, shrike," German schrik "moor hen," Swedish skrika "jay").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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13
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