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[turn] /tɜrn/
any of numerous aquatic birds of the subfamily Sterninae of the family Laridae, related to the gulls but usually having a more slender body and bill, smaller feet, a long, deeply forked tail, and a more graceful flight, especially those of the genus Sterna, as S. hirundo (common tern) of Eurasia and America, having white, black, and gray plumage.
any aquatic bird of the subfamily Sterninae, having a forked tail, long narrow wings, a pointed bill, and a typically black-and-white plumage: family Laridae (gulls, etc), order Charadriiformes
a three-masted schooner
(rare) a group of three

gull-like shore bird (subfamily Sterninae), 1670s, via East Anglian dialect, from a Scandinavian source (cf. Danish terne, Swedish tärna, Færoese terna) related to Old Norse þerna “tern,” cognate with Old English stearn “starling.”


Extreme; unmitigated: Terminal cuteness is the dread disease of too much Southern writing

[1990s+; based on the medical sense ”fatal, incurable”]


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