Definition of petrel in English:


Syllabification: pet·rel
Pronunciation: /ˈpetrəl


  • A seabird related to the shearwaters, typically flying far from land.
    • Order Procellariiformes, in particular the families Procellariidae (e.g., the giant petrel and pintado petrel) or Hydrobatidae (the storm petrels) . See also diving petrel
    More example sentences
    • While there are few wild animals in Iceland, there is abundant birdlife - ducks, geese and, among the many sea-birds I spotted, petrels, puffins, tern, gannets, skuas and shearwaters.
    • In Hawaii, cats and dogs as well as the imported mongoose have seriously affected nesting waterbirds and two seabirds - the dark-rumped petrel and Newell's shearwater, according to the National Biological Service.
    • Fulmarus glacialis, a cliff-dwelling, gull-like bird of northern seas and coasts; it belongs to a group of seabirds commonly known as petrels and shearwaters.


early 17th century: associated with St. Peter, from the bird's habit of flying low with legs dangling, giving the appearance of walking on the water (see Matt. 14:30).

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