lark

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lark, common name for members of the large family Alaudidae, perching birds of terrestrial habits, chiefly of the Old World and best-known through the skylark, Alauda arvensis. The horned larks belong to the one species native to North America, Eremophila alpestris. They vary in color and markings in different geographical areas but are generally protectively plumaged in mixed browns and grays above, with light underparts and with black and yellow or white about the head and throat. Dark feathers form the tufts on their heads. On the ground they run rather than hop. They have a melodious flight song. The prairie lark is a subspecies. The meadowlark belongs to the family Icteridae. The 75 species of larks are fairly similar in their habits and appearance. They are found in meadows, plains, beaches, and other open areas. They are omnivorous. With the exception of the bush lark, genus Mirafra, larks lay their eggs (two to six per clutch) in open nests on the ground. Bush larks have domed nests. The female almost exclusively incubates the eggs for three to four weeks. Larks are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Passeriformes, family Alaudidae.

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lark1 / lärk/ • n. a small ground-dwelling songbird (family Alaudidae), typically with brown streaky plumage, a crest, and elongated hind claws, and with a song that is delivered in flight. lark2 inf. • n. something done for fun, esp. something mischievous or daring; an amusing adventure or escapade: I only went along for a lark. • v. [intr.] enjoy oneself by behaving in a playful and mischievous way: he jumped the fence to go larking the rest of the day. DERIVATIVES: lark·ish adj. lark·y adj.

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lark Any of several small birds, known for their melodious songs. Most common in Europe are the woodlark (Lullula arborea), skylark (Alauda arvensis) and shorelark (Eremophila alpestris). All are mottled brown. Depending on where they live, they feed on insects, larvae, crustaceans or berries. Length: to 18cm (7in). Family Alaudidae.

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lark the lark's song is delivered on the wing, and traditional allusions refer to its early singing, the strength and sweetness of its song, and the height to which it soars above its nest.
be up with the lark be up very early in the morning.

See also if the sky falls we shall catch larks.

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lark1 bird known for its morning song. OE. lāwerce, lāwerce, corr. to MLG., MDu. lēwer(i)ke (Du. leeuwerik), OHG. lērahha (G. lerche), ON. lævirki (perh. from Eng.); of unkn. orig. The Sc. var. laverock descends from ME. laverok. comp. larkspur XVI (larkes spur); so called from the spur-shaped calyx.

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lark2 (colloq.) play tricks, frolic. XIX. poss. repr. dial. lake play, sport—ON. leika = OE. lācan.
Hence sb. XIX.