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From Old English hlēapewince, from hlēapan (to leap) + *winc- ("sway, totter") (because of its manner of flight). The modern form is influenced by folk etymology.



lapwing (plural lapwings)

  1. Any of several medium-sized wading birds belonging to the subfamily Vanellinae within family Charadriidae.
    • 1986, Steven L. Hilty, Bill Brown, A Guide to the Birds of Colombia, page 149,
      Plovers and lapwings are a large, virtually worldwide family that differs from sandpipers in, among other things, having a shorter, thicker, pigeonlike bill and more robust proportions.
    • 2010, Des Thompson, Ingvar Byrkjedal, Tundra Plovers, page 36,
      The resident tropical plovers have much less pointed wings, and most of the lapwings have fairly rounded wing-tips, a wing shape apparently more adapted to aerial manoeuvrability than to long-distance migration.
    • 2010, Clive Finlayson, Birds of the Strait of Gibraltar, page 244,
      Lapwings are abundant winter visitors to the area but, like the Golden Plovers, vary greatly in number between years.
  2. The tewit (Vanellus cristatus) (which is a type of lapwing in the first sense).
  3. A silly man.

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