any of several large, totipalmate, fish-eating birds of the family Pelecanidae, having a large bill with a distensible pouch.
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2010.
World English Dictionary
any aquatic bird of the tropical and warm water family Pelecanidae, such as P. onocrotalus ( white pelican ): order Pelecaniformes. They have a long straight flattened bill, with a distensible pouch for engulfing fish
Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
Word Origin & History
O.E. pellicane, from L.L. pelecanus, from Gk. pelekan “pelican” (so used by Aristotle), apparently related to pelekas “woodpecker” and pelekys “ax,” perhaps so called from the shape of the bird’s bill. Used in Septuagint to translate Heb. qaath. The fancy that it feeds its young on its own blood is an Egyptian tradition properly belonging to some other bird.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
* Above definitions from Dictionary.com