From Middle English, from Anglo-Norman egret, Old French aigrette (“egret”), from Old Provençal aigreta, diminutive of aigron (“heron”), from Frankish *haigro (“heron”). Cognate with Old High German heigaro (“heron”), Old English hrāgra (“heron”). More at heron.
egret (plural egrets)
- Any of various wading birds of the genera Egretta or Ardea that includes herons, many of which are white or buff, and several of which develop fine plumes during the breeding season.
- A plume or tuft of feathers worn as a part of a headdress, or anything imitating such an ornament; an aigrette.
- (botany) The flying feathery or hairy crown of seeds or achenes, such as the down of the thistle.
- (zoology, obsolete) A kind of ape with a plume on the head.