From Late Middle English ospray, from Anglo-Norman ospriet, from Medieval Latin avis prede (“bird of prey”), a generic term apparently confused with this specific bird in Old French on its similarity to ossifrage.
osprey (plural ospreys)
- A bird of prey (Pandion haliaetus) that feeds on fish and has white underparts and long, narrow wings each ending in four finger-like extensions.
- 1594, I will provide thee of a princely osprey. — Peele, Battle of Alcazar
- c. 1612-13: But (oh Jove!) your actions, / Soon as they move, as ospreys do the fish, / Subdue before they touch. — Shakespeare, Fletcher, Two Noble Kinsmen
- aigrette (ornamental feather)
- fish eagle (a misnomer as the osprey is not an eagle, but compare some of the translations below)
- fish hawk (a misnomer as the osprey is not a hawk)
- orfray (obsolete, incorrect)
- ossifrage (from Latin "bone-breaker")
- osspringer (obsolete)
bird of prey