Student Dictionary

2 entries found for halcyon.
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Main Entry: 1hal·cy·on
Pronunciation: primarystresshal-semacron-schwan
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English alceon "kingfisher," from Latin halcyon (same meaning), from Greek halkyomacrn "legendary bird that builds a nest at sea"
1 : a bird identified with the kingfisher and believed in ancient legend to nest at sea in December and calm the waves
Word History According to ancient legend, fourteen days of good weather occurred every year around December 22. This time of clear skies and calm seas was thought to be the result of a magical bird's concern for her nest. The legend explained that the female kingfisher built a floating nest on the sea during this period. She calmed the waves and winds to keep her nest safe. The Greek name for the kingfisher was halkyomacrn. English borrowed the Latin spelling of the bird's name, and today we call any quiet, peaceful period halcyon days.

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