Cur"lew (k?r"l?), n. [F. courlieu, corlieu, courlis; perh. of imitative origin, but cf. OF. corlieus courier; L. currere to run + levis light.] Zool.
A wading bird of the genus Numenius, remarkable for its long, slender, curved bill.
⇒ The common European curlew is N. arquatus. The long-billed (N. longirostris), the Hudsonian (N. Hudsonicus), and the Eskimo curlew (N. borealis, are American species. The name is said to imitate the note of the European species.
Curlew Jack Zool. the whimbrel or lesser curlew. -- Curlew sandpiper Zool., a sandpiper (Tringa ferruginea, ∨ subarquata), common in Europe, rare in America, resembling a curlew in having a long, curved bill. See Illustation in Appendix.
© Webster 1913.