a member of any of three families (esp. Procellariidae) of small, marine tubenose birds with long wings, including storm petrels and shearwaters
Origin of petrelearlier pitteral ; from uncertain or unknown; perhaps
Any of various black, gray, or white pelagic seabirds of the order Procellariiformes, found mostly in the Southern Hemisphere.
Origin of petrelPerhaps alteration of earlier pitteral (perhaps influenced by Saint Peter, walking on the water, from the fact that the bird flies so close to the water as to appear to be walking on it).
Perhaps a diminutive of Peter, with reference to St. Peter's walking on the water (Matthew 14:29).