Definition of peregrine in English:


(also peregrine falcon)


  • A powerful falcon found on most continents, breeding chiefly on mountains and coastal cliffs and much used for falconry.

    Falco peregrinus, family Falconidae

    • ‘Boasting buzzards, merlins, kestrels, peregrines, and ospreys, the county has ten of a total UK species of 15-making it one of the nation's key habitats.’
    • ‘And there are more raptors about: falcons, peregrines, sparrowhawks.’
    • ‘Raptors - particularly buzzards, sparrowhawks and peregrines - are in abundance in the Scottish countryside.’
    • ‘Usually early migrants, the first ouzel's song echoes round the hills and the first birds fall prey to merlins and peregrines.’
    • ‘Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, anyone who destroys or disturbs eggs, chicks or nests of birds such as goshawks and peregrines faces up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to £5,000.’
    • ‘I've owned an American kestrel and a Harris hawk, and I exercised the peregrines at the sanctuary.’
    • ‘As soon as Jeff and I discovered that, the conversation quickly left talk of ivory-bills and on to the exciting flights of peregrines and Cooper's hawks.’
    • ‘Young, captive peregrines from the far north have been experimentally released in suitable eastern habitats, even on high, cliff-like city buildings, and fed until able to hunt for themselves.’
    • ‘The fastest bird in the world and the largest native hawk in the UK, peregrines continue to suffer illegal human persecution despite their protected status.’
    • ‘In the past gamekeepers declared war on creatures they called ‘vermin’ - stoats, weasels and birds of prey such as harriers and peregrines, which were thought to prey on grouse.’
    • ‘In 1999 peregrines were removed from the Endangered Species List.’
    • ‘By 1970, fewer than 40 breeding pairs of peregrines were known and the bald eagle seemed set to follow.’
    • ‘During this time, we collected 153 eggs, 87 from American peregrines and 66 from Arctic peregrines.’
    • ‘Density of the breeding population did not affect dispersal distance of peregrines.’
    • ‘Observers recorded the presence of adult peregrines and attempted to classify individuals by sex at cliffs occupied by lone adults.’
    • ‘‘There was a lot of anger in the area when someone killed those chicks - peregrines are rare and beautiful birds, protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act,’ he said.’
    • ‘We were privileged to see minke whales, dolphins, otters and golden eagles, and I will never forget lying in the sun on Canna after lunch, watching three peregrines engaged in mock combat above while reliving my dive of that morning.’
    • ‘And 370 kilometres is much too fast - more like 330 or 340 kilometres per hour, and that's only on silver peregrines.’
    • ‘The peregrines will be shown on Thursday at 3pm.’
    • ‘We trust his spirit soars with the peregrines he so loved.’


  • Coming from another country; foreign or outlandish.

    ‘peregrine species of grass’
    travelling, transportable, transferable, portable, movable, locomotive, manoeuvrable


Late Middle English from Latin peregrinus ‘foreign’, from peregre ‘abroad’, from per- ‘through’ + ager ‘field’. The falcon's name is a translation of the modern Latin taxonomic name, literally ‘pilgrim falcon’, because falconers' birds were caught fully grown on migration, not taken from the nest.