From Middle English owle, from Old English ūle, from Proto-Germanic *uwwalǭ (compare West Frisian ûle, Dutch uil, Danish and Norwegian ugle, German Eule), diminutive of *uwwǭ (“eagle-owl”) (compare German Uhu), of imitative origin or a variant of *ūfaz, *ūfǭ (compare Swedish uv (“horned owl”), Bavarian Auf), from Proto-Indo-European *up- (compare Latvian ũpis (“eagle-owl”), Czech úpět (“to wail, howl”), Avestan [script needed] (ufyeimi, “to call out”) ‘’).
owl (plural owls)
- Any of various birds of prey of the order Strigiformes that are primarily nocturnal and have forward-looking, binocular vision, limited eye movement, and good hearing. [from 8th c.]
- A person seen as having owl-like characteristics, especially appearing wise or serious, or being nocturnally active. [from 14th c.]
- The owl pigeon. [from 18th c.]
- ^ Marlies Philippa et al, eds., Etymologisch Woordenboek van het Nederlands, A-Z, s.v. “uil” (Amsterdam UP, 3 Dec. 2009). 
- ^ Derksen, Rick (2008) Etymological Dictionary of the Slavic Inherited Lexicon (Leiden Indo-European Etymological Dictionary Series; 4), Leiden, Boston: Brill, ISBN 978 90 04 15504 6, pages 532—535
- ^ Vladimir Orel, A Handbook of Germanic Etymology, s.vv. “*uwwalōn”, “*uwwǭ”, “*ūfaz ~ *ūfǭ” (Leiden: Brill, 2003), 436.