1. <zoology> Any large webfooted bird of the genus of Pelecanus, of which about a dozen species are known. They have an enormous bill, to the lower edge of which is attached a pouch in which captured fishes are temporarily stored.

The American white pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) and the brown species (P. Fuscus) are abundant on the Florida coast in winter, but breed about the lakes in the Rocky Mountains and British America.

2. <chemistry> A retort or still having a curved tube or tubes leading back from the head to the body for continuous condensation and redistillation.

The principle is still employed in certain modern forms of distilling apparatus.

<zoology> Frigate pelican, deep-sea fish (Eurypharynx pelecanoides) of the order Lyomeri, remarkable for the enormous development of the jaws, which support a large gular pouch.

<botany> Pelican flower, a marine gastropod shell of the genus Aporrhais, especially. Aporrhais pes-pelicani of Europe.

Origin: F. Pelican, L. Pelicanus, pelecanus, Gr, the woodpecker, and also a water bird of the pelican kind, fr. To hew with an ax, akin to Skr. Paracu

Alternative forms: pelecan.

(01 Mar 1998)