Word of the Day


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Liz Potter
Written by Liz Potter


a large bird with long legs and a long beak, said to bring people their new babies

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

Origin and usage

The noun stork comes from Old English ‘storc’. It started to be spelled with a ‘k’ in the 14th century.


News that three pairs of storks are nesting at Knepp castle in Sussex has caused considerable excitement, not least because the male partner of one of the pairs is a wild bird rather than being captive-bred like the others. Wild storks have not bred in the UK since medieval times, although there is considerable evidence for their presence here in place names, as well as from finds of their bones at different sites. While some have objected to the reintroduction of this species after so many centuries, many others are excited at the prospect of these spectacular birds becoming part of the UK landscape and ecosystem again. The idea that storks bring new babies to people is an old one from northern European folklore that was popularized in a story by the 19th century Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen.


“Does the sparrow know how the stork feels?”

“His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork.”
(Mae West)

Related words

crane, egret, heron, ibis

Browse related words in the Macmillan Thesaurus.

About the author

Liz Potter

Liz Potter

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