oldwife

Definitions

  • WordNet 3.6
    • n oldwife a common long-tailed sea duck of the northern parts of the United States
    • n oldwife tropical Atlantic fish
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n oldwife The long-tailed sea-duck, Harelda glacialis, of the family Anatidæ and the subfamily Fuligulinæ. The male in the breeding season has the two middle tail-feathers lance-linear and long-exserted. The bill is black, tipped with orange; the plumage is blackish or white, varied with reddish and silver-gray tints. In winter the long tail-feathers do not exist, and the reddish parts are replaced by gray. The oldwife breeds in the arctic regions, both on sea-coasts and on large inland waters, and in winter is generally dispersed in temperate regions. It is a lively, voluble duck, having a kind of song; it is an expert diver and a rank feeder, and the flesh is not savory. The nest is placed on the ground; the eggs are 6 or 7 in number, drab-colored, and about 2 inches long by 1½ broad. Also called old billy, old granny, old Injun, old molly, old-squaw, and south-southerly.
    • n oldwife In ichthyology, one of several different fishes. The alewife.
    • n oldwife A cowl for a chimney, to prevent its smoking.
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