What A Wonderful Word Wednesday: Frigate (Bird)

I admit, I personally don’t see many opportunities to use this word in my daily conversation or writing, but I ran into it three times this week. Three! From that I can deduce only one thing: This word is asking to be showcased.  Fortunately, I am here to humor it’s request! 🙂


I actually included two different but related objects in today’s vocabulary sketch. Frigate (noun) is a small and fast military ship. Frigate bird (noun) is a tropical seabird in the Frigatae family. It has a forked tail, large wingspan, and is an aggressive eater, often stealing food from other birds. The frigate bird is thought to be named after the frigate (ship) because they both move quickly over the sea. They are both aggressive in their actions, so that’s another similarity. Of course, frigate bird isn’t the only name for these fliers; if you hear talk of “man of war birds” or “pirate birds,” they are referring to frigates.

I included both definitions today because I was initially a little confused about the two. I read a poem which mentioned a frigate (clearly a bird), but when I looked the word up, the definition made no avian reference. From that I deduce that, technically, we ought to refer to the frigate bird as the frigate BIRD, but maybe that second word isn’t always needed or used! Context is key. Rarely, I’ve found, do military ships skim through the air… 🙂



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