What does TERN mean?

Definitions for TERNtɜrn

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word TERN.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. tern(noun)

    small slender gull having narrow wings and a forked tail


  1. tern(Noun)

    Any of various sea birds of the family Sternidae that are similar to gulls but are smaller, more elegant and have a forked tail.

  2. Origin: From a Scandinavian language, related to Danish terne, Swedish tärna, ultimately from þerna

Webster Dictionary

  1. Tern(noun)

    any one of numerous species of long-winged aquatic birds, allied to the gulls, and belonging to Sterna and various allied genera

  2. Tern(adj)

    threefold; triple; consisting of three; ternate

  3. Tern(adj)

    that which consists of, or pertains to, three things or numbers together; especially, a prize in a lottery resulting from the favorable combination of three numbers in the drawing; also, the three numbers themselves


  1. Tern

    Terns are seabirds in the family Sternidae that have a worldwide distribution and are normally found near the sea, rivers or wetlands. Previously considered a subfamily of the gulls, Laridae, they are now usually given full family status and divided into eleven genera. They are slender, lightly built birds with long forked tails, narrow wings, long bills and relatively short legs. Their flight is buoyant and graceful. Most species are pale grey above and white below, with a contrasting black cap to the head, but the marsh terns, the Inca Tern and some noddies have dark plumage for at least part of the year. The sexes are identical in appearance, but young birds are readily distinguishable from adults. Terns have a non-breeding plumage, which usually involves a white forehead and much-reduced black cap. The terns are birds of open habitats that typically breed in noisy colonies and lay their eggs on bare ground with little or no nest material. However, the marsh terns construct floating nests from the vegetation in their wetland habitats, and a few species build simple nests in trees, on cliffs or in crevices. The White Tern, uniquely, lays its single egg on a bare tree branch. Depending on the species, 1–3 eggs make up the clutch. Most species feed on fish caught by diving from flight, but the marsh terns are insect-eaters, and some large terns will supplement their diet with small land vertebrates. Many terns are long-distance migrants, and the Arctic Tern may see more daylight in a year than any other animal.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Tern

    tėrn, n. a long-winged aquatic fowl allied to the gull.—n. Ter′nery, a place where terns breed. [Allied to Dan. terne, sea-swallow, Ice. therna.]

  2. Tern

    tėrn, adj. threefold: consisting of three: growing in threes.—n. that which consists of three things or numbers together: a prize in a lottery got by drawing three favourable numbers.—adjs. Ter′nal, threefold; Ter′nary, proceeding by, or consisting of, threes.—n. the number three.—adj. Ter′nāte, threefold, or arranged in threes.—adv. Ter′nātely.—n. Ter′nion, a section of paper for a book containing three double leaves or twelve pages. [L. terni, three each—tres, three.]

Suggested Resources

  1. TERN

    What does TERN stand for? -- Explore the various meanings for the TERN acronym on the Abbreviations.com website.


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of TERN in Chaldean Numerology is: 7

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of TERN in Pythagorean Numerology is: 3

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"TERN." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2018. Web. 19 Mar. 2018. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/TERN>.

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