1. <zoology> The name of several species of herons which bear plumes on the back. They are generally white. Among the best known species are the American egret (Ardea, or Herodias, egretta); the great egret (A. Alba); the little egret (A. Garzetta), of Europe; and the American snowy egret (A. Candidissima). "A bunch of egrets killed for their plumage." (G. W. Cable)

2. A plume or tuft of feathers worn as a part of a headdress, or anything imitating such an ornament; an aigrette.

3. <botany> The flying feathery or hairy crown of seeds or achenes, as the down of the thistle.

4. <zoology> A kind of ape.

See: Aigret, Heron.

(01 Mar 1998)

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