Petrels are small dark white-rumped sea birds that, when flying, appear to be patting the water alternately with each foot, as though they were walking on it. This flying habit is particularly noticeable during a stormy period—the birds fly so close to the water with their feet hanging down that it would take a sharp eye to see they were not walking. To older seamen this appearance was reminiscent of St. Peter, who allegedly walked on the Lake of Gennesareth.
   The birds have been named stormy petrels because they are often seen during stormy weather. Captain Marryat writes in Poor Jack that these birds were the souls of drowned and shipwrecked sailors "come to warn us of the approaching storm." The term is used figuratively of any person whose coming portends trouble or who is argumentative.

Dictionary of eponyms. . 2013.

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  • pétrel — [ petrɛl ] n. m. • 1699; de l angl. pitteral (1676) ♦ Oiseau marin migrateur (procellariiformes), palmipède qui vole au ras de l eau. « Le grand pétrel est aussi gros que l albatros commun » ( Baudelaire). ● pétrel nom masculin (anglais petrel,… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Petrel — war eine britische Höhenforschungsrakete. Die Petrel 1 wurde wie die Skua 1 mit drei Startraketen vom Typ Chick gestartet. Die Petrel 1 war 3,34 m lang, hatte einen Durchmesser von 19 Zentimetern und erreichte eine Gipfelhöhe von 140 Kilometern.… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Petrel — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda El nombre de Petrel puede hacer referencia a: Petrel (ave). Un ave marina de la familia Procellariidae. Petrel, un municipio español de la provincia de Alicante, cuyo nombre oficial en valenciano es Petrer. Un avión… …   Wikipedia Español

  • petrel — PETRÉL, petrei, s.m. Pasăre marină de culoare albă, cu spatele şi aripile cenuşii, care se hrăneşte cu peşti şi trăieşte în colonii (Larus canus). – Din fr. pétrel. Trimis de oprocopiuc, 15.03.2004. Sursa: DEX 98  PETRÉL s. v. pescar. Trimis de… …   Dicționar Român

  • Petrel — Pe trel, n. [F. p[ e]trel; a dim. of the name Peter, L. Petrus, Gr. ? a stone ( John i. 42); probably so called in allusion to St. Peter s walking on the sea. See {Petrify}.] (Zo[ o]l.) Any one of numerous species of longwinged sea birds… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • petrel — 1670s, pitteral, modern spelling first recorded 1703 by English explorer William Dampier (1651 1715), who wrote the bird was so called from its way of flying with its feet just skimming the surface of the water, which recalls the apostle s walk… …   Etymology dictionary

  • petrel — s. m. Grande ave dos mares antárticos. • Plural: petréis …   Dicionário da Língua Portuguesa

  • petrel — petrel, petrol The first is a bird, the second a fuel (AmE gasoline). They are both pronounced the same way, pet rǝl …   Modern English usage

  • petrel — sustantivo masculino 1. (macho y hembra) Familia Procelaridae o Hydrobatidae. Ave marina palmípeda de color generalmente negro, que vive en alta mar y se alimenta de peces que caza nadando o volando sobre la superficie marina …   Diccionario Salamanca de la Lengua Española

  • petrel — (De or. inc.). m. Ave palmípeda, muy voladora, del tamaño de una alondra, común en todos los mares, donde se la ve a enormes distancias de la tierra, nadando en las crestas de las olas, para coger los huevos de peces, moluscos y crustáceos, con… …   Diccionario de la lengua española

  • petrel — ► NOUN ▪ a seabird of a kind that typically flies far from land. ORIGIN from the name of St Peter, because of the bird s habit of flying low with legs dangling, and so appearing to walk on the water (as did St Peter in the Gospel of Matthew) …   English terms dictionary

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