1 of 2


often attributive
archaic : the young of a feathered vertebrate
: any of a class (Aves) of warm-blooded vertebrates distinguished by having the body more or less completely covered with feathers and the forelimbs modified as wings
: a game bird
: fellow
: a peculiar person
chiefly British : girl
chiefly British
: a hissing or jeering sound expressive of disapproval
: dismissal from employment
: a thin piece of meat rolled up with stuffing and cooked
: a man-made object (such as an aircraft, rocket, or satellite) that resembles a bird especially by flying or being aloft
: an obscene gesture of contempt made by pointing the middle finger upward while keeping the other fingers down
usually used with the

called also finger

birdlike adjective

Illustration of bird

Illustration of bird
  • 1 crest
  • 2 crown
  • 3 bill
  • 4 throat
  • 5 auricular region
  • 6 breast
  • 7 scapulars
  • 8 abdomen
  • 9 tarsus
  • 10 upper wing coverts
  • 11 primaries
  • 12 secondaries
  • 13 rectrix
  • 14 tail


2 of 2


birded; birding; birds

intransitive verb

: to observe or identify wild birds in their habitats
for the birds

Example Sentences

Noun A large bird flew overhead. The birds were singing outside our window. He's a tough old bird. We met some smashing birds at the pub last night.
Recent Examples on the Web
Everyone seemed concerned but there was nothing to be done because the bird was out of reach. New York Times, 12 Feb. 2023 While Flaco had been spotted in various parts of the city, police admitted the bird was difficult to capture and was certainly a flight risk. Tina Burnside, CNN, 9 Feb. 2023 The chonky bird is a byword for clumsy obsolescence. WIRED, 31 Jan. 2023 That seems like a lofty target, given that a bird is vastly more complicated than a molecule. Quanta Magazine, 11 Jan. 2023 Closer inspection showed Oram the bird was in trouble, too. Matt Williams, Dallas News, 6 Jan. 2023 The bird was unable to fly because of a fractured humerus bone in his wing, and a severe wound in the wing as well, the Humane Society said. Kerry Breen, CBS News, 13 Dec. 2022 However, Katzner confirmed the bird was one that was monitored in his study. Kate S. Petersen, USA TODAY, 29 Nov. 2022 One study examines the chemical isotopes in swan feathers, which provides clues to where a migrating bird has been. Brian Maffly, The Salt Lake Tribune, 23 Nov. 2022
Visitors will be able to bird watch as well as take a mile-long hike through the sanctuary, which will open to the public this fall. Arkansas Online, 18 July 2022 Birders can bird all weekend or just a few hours, Andersen said. Susan Dunne,, 8 May 2021 On Monday, a white woman named Amy Cooper went viral for threatening the life of a Black man, Christian Cooper (no relation), who was just trying to bird watch in Central Park in peace. Kathleen Newman-bremang,, 1 June 2020 Outdoor activities like trail running, hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, birding, fishing, kayaking, traditional golf and disc golf are perfect for social distancing. Josh Woods, The Conversation, 22 May 2020 For a taste of nature, Creamer’s Field Migratory Waterfowl Refuge, located on the north side of town, offers birding and wildlife viewing as well as miles of walking trails. David James, Anchorage Daily News, 9 Sep. 2015 Outdoor activities are still permitted, including bicycling, birding, boating, fishing, geocaching, hiking and hunting. Chris Sims, The Indianapolis Star, 15 May 2020 With many birding hotspots closed and organized outings canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, birders have been forced to hang up their binoculars. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, 24 Apr. 2020 The Piney Woods Wildlife Society coordinates birding field trips for its members, and meets the third Wednesday of most months at the Dennis Johnston Park Big Stone Lodge in Spring. Melanie Feuk, Houston Chronicle, 13 Mar. 2020 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bird.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History



Middle English brid, bird, from Old English bridd

First Known Use


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1917, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of bird was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near bird

Cite this Entry

“Bird.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
: any of a class of warm-blooded egg-laying vertebrate animals with the body covered with feathers and the forelimbs modified as wings
: individual sense 2, fellow
especially : a peculiar person


2 of 2 verb
: to observe or identify wild birds in their natural environment
birder noun

Biographical Definition


biographical name

Larry (Joe) 1956–     American basketball player

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