petrel(redirected from Petrels)
Also found in: Thesaurus, Encyclopedia.
Any of various black, gray, or white pelagic seabirds of the order Procellariiformes, found mostly in the Southern Hemisphere.
[Perhaps alteration of earlier pitteral (perhaps influenced by Saint Peterwalking on the water, from the fact that the bird flies so close to the water as to appear to be walking on it).]
(Animals) any oceanic bird of the order Procellariiformes, having a hooked bill and tubular nostrils: includes albatrosses, storm petrels, and shearwaters. See also storm petrel
[C17: variant of earlier pitteral, associated by folk etymology with St Peter, because the bird appears to walk on water]
any of various oceanic tube-nosed seabirds of the families Procellariidae, Hydrobatidae, and Pelecanoididae.
[1670–80; earlier pitteral, of uncertain orig.]
Switch to new thesaurus
|Noun||1.||petrel - relatively small long-winged tube-nosed bird that flies far from land|
Procellaria aequinoctialis, white-chinned petrel - large black petrel of southern seas having a white mark on the chin
shearwater - long-winged oceanic bird that in flight skims close to the waves
storm petrel - any of various small petrels having dark plumage with paler underparts