Terns

tern

1 [turn]
noun
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:
1670–80; < Danish terne or Norwegian terna; cognate with Old Norse therna

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tern

2 [turn]
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

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World English Dictionary
tern1 (tɜːn)
 
n
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
 
[C18: from Old Norse therna; related to Norwegian terna, Swedish tärna]

tern2 (tɜːn)
 
n
1.  a three-masted schooner
2.  rare a group of three
 
[C14: from Old French terne, from Italian terno, from Latin ternī three each; related to Latin ter thrice, trēs three]

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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

tern
gull-like shore bird (subfamily Sterninae), 1678, via E.Anglian dialect, from a Scand. source (cf. Dan. terne, Swed. tärna, Færoese terna) related to O.N. þerna "tern," cognate with O.E. stearn "starling."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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