A member of any of three families (esp. Procellariidae) of small, marine tubenose birds with long wings, including storm petrels and shearwaters.
Webster's New World
Any of various black, gray, or white pelagic seabirds of the order Procellariiformes, found mostly in the Southern Hemisphere.
Other Word Forms of Petrel
Origin of Petrel
Perhaps 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)
From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition
Perhaps a diminutive of Peter, with reference to St. Peter's walking on the water (Matthew 14:29).
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