noun \ˈtär-mi-gən\
plural ptar·mi·gan or ptar·mi·gans

Definition of PTARMIGAN

:  any of various grouses (genus Lagopus) of northern regions with completely feathered feet

Illustration of PTARMIGAN


modification of Scottish Gaelic tarmachan
First Known Use: 1599


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Any of three or four species of grouse (genus Lagopus) of cold regions. Ptarmigan plumage changes from white in winter to gray or brown, with barring, in spring and summer. The toes are covered with stiff feathers above and below. The common ptarmigan (L. mutus) occurs throughout the British Isles, Europe, and North America, where it is called rock ptarmigan. Ptarmigans survive winter in the Arctic and on mountaintops by browsing shrubs and scratching up lichens and leaves; they burrow in snow to sleep. Males begin group displays in early spring and then separate and display singly in adjoining territories.


Next Word in the Dictionary: ptbl
Previous Word in the Dictionary: Ptarmica
All Words Near: ptarmigan

Seen & Heard

What made you want to look up ptarmigan? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Get Our Free Apps
Voice Search, Favorites,
Word of the Day, and More
Join Us on FB & Twitter
Get the Word of the Day and More