Tu-whit

Tu-whit´


n. & inter1.Words imitative of the notes of the owl.
Thy tu-whits are lulled, I wot,
Thy tu-whoos of yesternight.
- Tennyson.
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, published 1913 by G. & C. Merriam Co.
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References in classic literature ?
It is no honest and blunt tu-whit tu-who of the poets, but, without jesting, a most solemn graveyard ditty, the mutual consolations of suicide lovers remembering the pangs and the delights of supernal love in the infernal groves.
But if you hear a male respond to a calling female, it'll sound like "tu-whit tu-whoo".
This song is also an example of the characteristically Elizabethan device of making the formula for a bird's song into a pun, by which it is arbitrarily endowed with meaning: The owl's "tu-whit, tu who" thus sums up the play's theme: to wit, to woo; while the cuckoo's song hails the cuckold, becoming a "word of fear, / Unpleasing to a married ear!" (5.2.901-2).
In his version, when Shakespeare's stereotyped "tu-whit, tu whoo"--which does not appear in "There was a boy"--fails to mimic the owl, the poem stages its own specifically linguistic character, recalling the Elizabethan identification of poetry and bird song only to make a break with it.
As dusk descends, you can hear the tu-whit tu-whoo of tawny owls the trees and, by contrast, each morning the robin's song establishing his territory couldn't be more forthright.
Last year, Daily Post readers helped the North Wales Breeding Bird Atlas map their nests, and while the book is being written, the organisers are seeking last-minute help locating calling tawny owls, the classic brown owl with its "tu-whit" and "tu-whoo" calls.
The sweet birdsong and the rasping of the winter's wind were heard in Under the Greenwood Tree; the brittleness of winter, in Blow, blow thou winter Wind; and the tu-whit, tu-whooing of a staring bird, perfectly matched by voice and flute, in The Owl.
Tu-whit tu-whoo: A written representation of the sound made by an owl.
As dusk descends, you can hear the tu-whit tu-whoo of tawny owls in the trees and, by contrast, each morning the robin's song establishing his territory couldn't be more forthright.