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petreln. [F. pétrel; a dim. of the name Peter, L. Petrus, Gr. a stone (John i. 42); -- probably so called in allusion to St. Peter's walking on the sea. See Petrify.].
     Any one of numerous species of longwinged sea birds belonging to the family Procellaridæ. The small petrels, or Mother Carey's chickens, belong to Oceanites, Oceanodroma, Procellaria, and several allied genera.  [1913 Webster]
Diving petrel, any bird of the genus Pelecanoides. They chiefly inhabit the southern hemisphere. -- Fulmar petrel, Giant petrel. See Fulmar. -- Pintado petrel, the Cape pigeon. See under Cape. -- Pintado petrel, any one of several small petrels, especially Procellaria pelagica, or Mother Carey's chicken, common on both sides of the Atlantic.


petrel, n. any of various sea birds of the family Procellariidae or Hydrobatidae, usu. flying far from land.

17th c. (also pitteral), of uncert. orig.: later assoc. with St Peter (Matt. 14:30)

For further exploring for "petrel" in Webster Dictionary Online

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