AskDefine | Define eagle

Dictionary Definition



1 any of various large keen-sighted diurnal birds of prey noted for their broad wings and strong soaring flight [syn: bird of Jove]
2 (golf) a score of two strokes under par on a hole
3 a former gold coin in the United States worth 10 dollars
4 an emblem representing power; "the Roman eagle" v : shoot in two strokes under par

User Contributed Dictionary

see Eagle



From Anglo-Norman egle, from aigle, from the aquila.



  1. Any of several large carnivorous birds in the family Accipitridae, having a powerful hooked bill and keen vision.
  2. A gold coin with a face value of $10.00 formerly used in the United States.
  3. A score of two under par for a hole.
Any of several large carnivorous birds in the family Accipitridae
A gold coin with a face value of $10.00
In golf, a score of two under par for a hole
  • Danish: eagle
  • Finnish: eagle


  1. To score an eagle.

Extensive Definition

about the bird Eagles are large birds of prey which mainly inhabit Eurasia and Africa. Outside these two areas, just two species (the Bald and Golden Eagles) can be found in North America - (north of Mexico), a few species in Central and South America, and three others in Australia.
They are members of the bird order Falconiformes (or Accipitriformes, according to alternative classification schemes), family Accipitridae, and belong to several genera which are not necessarily closely related to each other genetically.
Eagles are differentiated from other birds of prey mainly by their larger size, more powerful build, and heavier head and bill. Even the smallest eagles, like the Booted Eagle (which is comparable in size to a Common Buzzard or Red-tailed Hawk), have relatively longer and more evenly broad wings, and more direct, faster flight. Most eagles are larger than any other raptors apart from the vultures.
Like all birds of prey, eagles have very large powerful hooked beaks for tearing flesh from their prey, strong legs, and powerful talons. They also have extremely keen eyesight to enable them to spot potential prey from a very long distance. This keen eyesight is primarily contributed by their extremely large pupils which cause minimal diffraction (scattering) of the incoming light.
In Britain before 1678, Eagle referred specifically to the Golden Eagle, the other native species, the White-tailed Eagle, being known as the Erne. The modern name "Golden Eagle" for Aquila chrysaetos was introduced by the naturalist John Ray.
Eagles build their nests, called eyries, in tall trees or on high cliffs. Many species lay two eggs, but the older, larger chick frequently kills its younger sibling once it has hatched.
Eagles are sometimes used in falconry. They appear prominently in myth and literature. In the Old World, such references are commonly to the Golden Eagle (or possibly closely related species found in warmer climates).


Major new research into eagle taxonomy suggests that the important genera Aquila and Hieraaetus are not composed of nearest relatives, and it is likely that a reclassification of these genera will soon take place, with some species being moved to Lophaetus or Ictinaetus.



Eagles in culture

The word

The modern English name of the bird is derived from the Latin term aquila by way of the French Aigle. The Latin aquila may derive from the word aquilus, meaning dark-colored, swarthy, or blackish, as a description of the eagle's plumage; or from Aquilo, the Latin version of Greek Boreas, or north wind.
Old English used the term Earn, related to Scandinavia's Ørn / Örn. The etymology of this word is related to Greek ornis, literally meaning "bird". In this sense, the Eagle is the Bird with a capital B.

Eagles as national symbols

Eagles have been used by many nations as a national symbol.

Eagles as religious objects

Eagle lecterns are very common in Christian churches and cathedrals. The eagle is the symbol used to depict John the Apostle, whose writing most clearly witnesses the light and divinity of Christ. In art, John, as the presumed author of the Gospel, is often depicted with an eagle, which symbolizes the height he rose in the first chapter of his gospel. See Names of John.
The eagle is a sacred bird in some cultures and the feathers of the eagle are central to many religious and spiritual customs, especially amongst Native Americans in the United States and First Nations in Canada, as well as among many of the peoples of Meso-America. Some Native American peoples revere eagles as sacred religious objects and the feathers and parts of Bald and Golden Eagles are often compared to the Bible and crucifix. Eagle feathers are often used in various ceremonies and are used to honor noteworthy achievements and qualities such as exceptional leadership and bravery. In the cultures of the Northwest Coast, Eagle is also a supernatural being and also the ancestor and features in the heraldic crests of important clans known as totem poles.
The Moche people of ancient Peru worshipped the animal and often depicted eagles in their art.
Despite modern and historic Native American practices of giving eagle feathers to non-indigenous people and also members of other tribes who have been deemed worthy, current United States eagle feather law stipulates that only individuals of certifiable Native American ancestry enrolled in a federally recognized tribe are legally authorized to obtain eagle feathers for religious or spiritual use. In Canada, poaching of eagle feathers for the booming U.S. market has sometimes resulted in the arrests of First Nations person for the crime.

Eagles as organizational symbols

  • Munro. The image of a Golden Eagle is displayed the coat of arms of one of Scotland's most powerful clans, Munro. Gaelic Rothach.
  • Greece. The double-headed eagle is the emblem of the Greek sport clubs AEK (black eagle with open wings on yellow background) and PAOK (black eagle with closed wings on white background, as a symbol of mourning). It is a symbol of the clubs' origins, since both clubs were founded by Greeks who fled to Greece from Constantinople in 1922-23. The eagle itself is derived from the later version of the Roman Eagle, the Byzantine- or East Roman eagle.
  • Italy. The Roman eagle is the symbol of the Roman sports club S.S. Lazio.
  • Nigeria. The Nigeria Football Association, the nation's football (soccer) governing body, has a green eagle perched on a football as its organisational symbol and logo. The Nigerian national football team is known as the 'Super Eagles', the under-20 youth team as the 'Flying Eagles', and the under-17 national side as the 'Golden Eaglets'. They all have an eagle as their symbol.
  • Portugal. Eagle is the symbol of the Portuguese football team Sport Lisboa e Benfica.
  • Turkey. Black Eagles is used for the Turkish sports club Beşiktaş J.K..Turkish Seljukian double headed eagle emblem.
  • México. Eagle is the mascot form Club America´s football club, since 1981.
  • Persian Empire: the symbol of the Persian army was an eagle


  • Splitting headaches? Recent taxonomic changes affecting the British and Western Palaearctic lists - Martin Collinson, British Birds vol 99 (June 2006), 306-323
  • Bruguier, Leonard.A Warrior's Eagle Feather
eagle in Arabic: عقاب
eagle in Aymara: Paka
eagle in Min Nan: Eng-á
eagle in Bulgarian: Орел
eagle in Catalan: Àguila
eagle in Czech: Orel
eagle in Welsh: Eryr
eagle in Danish: Ørn
eagle in Pennsylvania German: Adler
eagle in German: Adler (Biologie)
eagle in Navajo: Atsá
eagle in Modern Greek (1453-): Αετός
eagle in Spanish: Águila
eagle in Esperanto: Aglo
eagle in Persian: عقاب
eagle in French: Aigle (oiseau)
eagle in Friulian: Acuile
eagle in Galician: Aguia
eagle in Hakka Chinese: Ên-tiâu
eagle in Korean: 독수리류
eagle in Croatian: Orlovi
eagle in Ido: Aglo
eagle in Indonesian: Elang
eagle in Javanese: Elang
eagle in Pampanga: Agila
eagle in Georgian: არწივი
eagle in Swahili (macrolanguage): Tai
eagle in Latin: Aquila
eagle in Lithuanian: Ereliai
eagle in Hungarian: Sas
eagle in Malay (macrolanguage): Burung helang
eagle in Dutch: Arend (roofvogel)
eagle in Japanese: 鷲
eagle in Norwegian: Ørner
eagle in Norwegian Nynorsk: Ørn
eagle in Low German: Aadler
eagle in Polish: Orły
eagle in Portuguese: Águia
eagle in Russian: Орлиные
eagle in Albanian: Shqiponja
eagle in Simple English: Eagle
eagle in Church Slavic: Орьлъ
eagle in Serbian: Орао
eagle in Finnish: Kotkat
eagle in Swedish: Örn
eagle in Thai: อินทรี
eagle in Turkish: Kartal (kuş)
eagle in Yiddish: אדלער
eagle in Chinese: 鹰

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Argus, Hershey bar, achievement, alerion, animal charge, annulet, antelope, argent, armorial bearings, armory, arms, arrow, aviation badge, avifauna, azure, baby bird, badge, badge of office, badges, bandeau, bar, bar sinister, baton, bearings, bend, bend sinister, billet, bird, bird of Jove, bird of Juno, bird of Minerva, bird of night, bird of passage, bird of prey, birdie, birdlife, birdy, blazon, blazonry, blue darter, blue streak, bordure, brassard, broad arrow, button, cadency mark, cage bird, cannonball, canton, cap and gown, cat, chain, chain of office, chaplet, charge, chevron, chick, chicken, chief, class ring, coat of arms, cockade, cockatrice, coin, collar, coronet, courser, crescent, crest, cross, cross moline, crown, cygnet, dart, decoration, device, difference, differencing, diving bird, double eagle, doubloon, dove, dress, ducat, eagle-eyed, eaglet, electricity, emblems, ensigns, epaulet, ermine, ermines, erminites, erminois, escutcheon, express train, falcon, fasces, ferret, fess, fess point, field, figurehead, file, fish-eating bird, five-dollar gold piece, flanch, flash, fledgling, fleur-de-lis, flightless bird, fowl, fret, fruit-eating bird, fulmar, fur, fusil, game bird, garland, gazelle, gold piece, greased lightning, greyhound, griffin, guinea, gules, gyron, half crown, half eagle, hammer and sickle, hard money, hare, hash mark, hatchment, hawk, hawk-eyed, helmet, heraldic device, heraldry, honor point, impalement, impaling, inescutcheon, insect-eating bird, insignia, insignia of branch, jet plane, label, lapel pin, lark, light, lightning, lion, livery, lozenge, lynx, mace, mantle, mantling, markings, marshaling, martlet, mascle, medal, mercury, metal, migrant, migratory bird, moidore, mortarboard, motto, mullet, napoleon, nestling, nombril point, oak leaf, octofoil, old school tie, or, ordinary, organization insignia, orle, oscine bird, overseas bar, owl, pale, paly, parachute badge, passerine bird, patch, peacock, peafowl, peahen, pean, perching bird, pheon, piece, piece of money, piece of silver, pigeon, pin, pip, pound sovereign, purpure, quarter, quartering, quicksilver, ratite, regalia, ring, rocket, roll of coins, rose, rouleau, sable, saltire, scared rabbit, school ring, scutcheon, sea bird, seed-eating bird, service stripe, shamrock, sharp-eyed, sharp-sighted, shield, shore bird, shot, shoulder patch, shoulder sleeve insignia, sigillography, skull and crossbones, skylark, skyrocket, songbird, sovereign, specie, sphragistics, spread eagle, squab, staff, star, storm petrel, stormy petrel, streak, streak of lightning, stripe, striped snake, submarine badge, subordinary, swallow, swan, swastika, tartan, ten-dollar gold piece, tenne, thistle, thought, thunderbolt, tie, tincture, torrent, torse, tressure, twenty-dollar gold piece, unicorn, uniform, vair, verge, vert, wading bird, wand, warbler, water bird, waterfowl, weasel, wildfowl, wind, wreath, yale
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