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A windsucker or common kestrel (Falco tinnunculus; sense 2.1)

wind +‎ sucker. Where the bird or term of abuse sense is concerned, some believe the word is a recent bowdlerization of windfucker; however, it appears since at least the 17th century. See the etymology of windfucker.



windsucker (plural windsuckers)

  1. A horse with the habit of windsucking.
    • 1847, George Henry Hewit Oliphant, “III. [Diseases, Defects or Alterations in Structure, and Bad Habits.]”, in The Law Concerning Horses, Racing, Wagers and Gaming; with an Appendix Containing Recent Cases, Statutes, &c., London: S[tephen] Sweet, 1, Chancery Lane, law bookseller and publisher, OCLC 54427058, page 39:
      In a later case a Horse was bought warranted "sound and free from vice," and an action was brought against the vendor on the ground of its being a Crib-biter and Wind-sucker []. Veterinary Surgeons were examined who said that the habit of Crib-biting was injurious to Horses; that the air sucked into the stomach of the animal distended it, and impaired its powers of digestion, occasionally to such an extent as greatly to diminish the value of the horse and render it incapable of work.
    • 1892, [Frederick Tynte] Warburton, “Accidents and Diseases”, in The Race Horse: How to Buy, Train, and Run Him, London: Sampson Low, Marston & Company Limited, St. Dunstan's House, Fetter Lane, Fleet Street, E.C., OCLC 228740544, page 261:
      Cribbing is scarcely a disease, though it may be productive of disease of the larynx. It is a habit usually acquired by young horses, either in idle moments or by imitation, often from the dam. The colt takes any wooden substance, such as a paling or manger, between his teeth and gnaws it. From that he proceeds to inhale the air, and often, when this habit has been acquired, he becomes a windsucker. It is probable that windsucking produces irritation in the throat and air-passages, and may lead to some enlargement, and consequently to roaring; but it is more probable that windsucking is the effect of disease.
    • 2004, Paul McGreevy, Equine Behavior: A Guide for Veterinarians and Equine Scientists, Edinburgh; Philadelphia, Pa.: W[alter] B[urns] Saunders, →ISBN, page 202, column 1:
      A crib-biting horse repeatedly seizes fixed objects with its incisor teeth and pulls back while making a characteristic grunting noise that signifies the passage of air into the esophagus. A wind-sucker achieves the same characteristic neck posture and grunt without holding onto any fixed object. It is believed that crib-biters may become wind-suckers []
  2. (archaic) Synonym of windfucker.
    1. The common kestrel (Falco tinnunculus).
    2. (derogatory) A term of abuse.
      • 1609–1610 (first performance), Ben Jonson, “Epicoene, or, The Silent Woman”, in The Works of Ben Jonson, which were formerly Printed in Two Volumes, are now Reprinted in One. To which is Added a Comedy, Called The New Inn. With Additions never before Published, London: Printed by Thomas Hodgkin, for H[enry] Herringman, E. Brewster, T. Bassett, R[ichard] Chiswell, M. Wotton, G. Conyers, 1692, OCLC 12720406, Act I, scene iv, page 186, column 2:
        Cle[rimont] Did you ever hear ſuch a Wind-ſucker, as this? / Dau[phine] Or ſuch a Rook as the other! that will betray his Maſter to be ſeen. Come, 'tis time we prevented it.
      • 1678, Virgil; John Phillips, Maronides; or, Virgil Travesty, being a New Paraphrase, in Burlesque Verse, upon the Fifth and Sixth Book of Virgil’s Æneids, London: Printed for Obadiah Blagrave, at the Bear in St. Paul's Church-Yard, near the Little North Door, OCLC 77736620, book V, page 55:
        For ſhame then let not this wind-ſucker, / At our diſgrace thus ſneer and ſnicker.
      • 1750, John Fletcher, “Wit without Money”, in The Works of Mr. Francis Beaumont, and Mr. John Fletcher, volume II, London: Printed for J[acob] and R[ichard] Tonson and S. Draper in the Strand, OCLC 938495987, Act IV, scene i, page 337:
        What do you here? / Why do ye vex a Woman of her Goodneſs, / Her State and Worth? Can yo' bring a fair Certificate / That you deſerve to be her Footmen? Husbands, Puppies? / Husbands for Whores and Bawds, away you Wind-ſuckers; []
      • 1989, Patricia Gaffney, Sweet Treason (Leisure Historical Romance), New York, N.Y.: Dorchester Publishing, →ISBN; republished New York, N.Y.: Leisure Books, 2000, →ISBN, page 63:
        Carlisle fell because Wade is a senile old windsucker []

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