Bit"tern (&?;), n. [OE. bitoure,
betore, bitter, fr. F. butor; of unknown origin.]
(Zoöl.) A wading bird of the genus Botaurus, allied
to the herons, of various species.
&fist; The common European bittern is Botaurus stellaris. It
makes, during the brooding season, a noise called by Dryden bumping, and by
Goldsmith booming. The American bittern is B. lentiginosus, and is
also called stake-driver and meadow hen. See Stake-
The name is applied to other related birds, as the least bittern
(Ardetta exilis), and the sun bittern.
Bit"tern, n. [From Bitter,
a.] 1. The brine which remains in
salt works after the salt is concreted, having a bitter taste from the
chloride of magnesium which it contains.
2. A very bitter compound of quassia, cocculus
Indicus, etc., used by fraudulent brewers in adulterating beer.