Definition of martlet in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈmɑːtlɪt/


1 Heraldry A bird like a swallow without feet, borne as a charge or a mark of cadency for a fourth son.
Example sentences
  • What the martlet was originally is a matter for dispute. Some claim it was the martin, for in some mediaeval documents it is written as "martenette".
  • The fifth martlet was added because when the charges were placed on a shield, the base looked a bit empty.
  • The martlet in French heraldry is called the merlette, represented by a swallow, depicted without legs, and later usually. without a beak.
1.1 literary A swift or house martin.
Example sentences
  • I believe the answer is because a martlet is on old name for the type of bird called in English a Swift.
  • The martlet, answering to our cliff swallow, is not so strong and ruddy a looking bird as our species, but it builds much the same and has a similar note. It is more plentiful than our swallow.


Late Middle English (denoting a swift): from Old French merlet, influenced by martinet (see martin).

Words that rhyme with martlet

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