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tern1

[turn] /tɜrn/
noun
1.
any of numerous aquatic birds of the subfamily Sterninae of the family Laridae, related to the gulls but usually having a more slender body and bill, smaller feet, a long, deeply forked tail, and a more graceful flight, especially those of the genus Sterna, as S. hirundo (common tern) of Eurasia and America, having white, black, and gray plumage.
Origin
1670-1680
1670-80; < Danish terne or Norwegian terna; cognate with Old Norse therna

tern2

[turn] /tɜrn/
noun
1.
a set of three.
2.
three winning numbers drawn together in a lottery.
3.
a prize won by drawing these.
Origin
1300-50; Middle English terne < Middle French < Italian terno < Latin ternus, singular of ternī three each, triad, akin to ter thrice; see three
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for tern
  • The former is a species of gannet, and the latter a tern.
  • Skimmers and thick-billed tern were plentiful here right in the heart of the continent.
  • These nine-inch long birds are the smallest member of the gull and tern family.
  • Nesting gulls were removed and tern decoys were scattered across the island.
British Dictionary definitions for tern

tern1

/tɜːn/
noun
1.
any aquatic bird of the subfamily Sterninae, having a forked tail, long narrow wings, a pointed bill, and a typically black-and-white plumage: family Laridae (gulls, etc), order Charadriiformes
Word Origin
C18: from Old Norse therna; related to Norwegian terna, Swedish tärna

tern2

/tɜːn/
noun
1.
a three-masted schooner
2.
(rare) a group of three
Word Origin
C14: from Old French terne, from Italian terno, from Latin ternī three each; related to Latin ter thrice, trēs three
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 tern
n.

gull-like shore bird (subfamily Sterninae), 1670s, via East Anglian dialect, from a Scandinavian source (cf. Danish terne, Swedish tärna, Færoese terna) related to Old Norse þerna "tern," cognate with Old English stearn "starling."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for tern

terminal

adjective

Extreme; unmitigated: Terminal cuteness is the dread disease of too much Southern writing

[1990s+; based on the medical sense ''fatal, incurable'']


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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4
5
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