1 of 2


black·​bird ˈblak-ˌbərd How to pronounce blackbird (audio)
: any of various birds of which the males are largely or entirely black: such as
: a common thrush (Turdus merula) of Eurasia and northern Africa having an orange bill and eye rim
: any of several American oscine birds (family Icteridae)
: a Pacific islander kidnapped for use as a plantation laborer


2 of 2


blackbirded; blackbirding; blackbirds

intransitive verb

: to engage in the slave trade especially in the South Pacific

Examples of blackbird in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Blue Hour and Red Moon by Anton Trexler Anton Trexler, a 17-year-old from Germany, wowed the judges with his striking shot of a Eurasian blackbird silhouetted against a bright full moon. Sarah Kuta, Smithsonian Magazine, 25 Sep. 2023 On a recent visit, a bat flew over the tracks in a tunnel, raspberries stained the ground and a baby blackbird took its tentative first steps, yards away from the River Seine. Juliette Guéron-Gabrielle,, 9 Sep. 2023 From the blackbirds with red shoulder pads to the murmuration-forming starlings, these birds have plenty to recommend them, including their warbles, chirps, and whistles. Southern Living Editors, Southern Living, 7 Sep. 2023 In the poem, Stevens found 13 different ways of looking at a blackbird. David Quammen, New York Times, 25 July 2023 The male blackbirds tend to perch atop cattails, while the females spend more time on the ground, foraging and hopping around on lily pads. Carlyn Kranking, Smithsonian Magazine, 27 July 2023 Readers recognized the bird was too small to be a crow or raven and doesn’t hang out in flocks like the ubiquitous blackbird. Ernie Cowan, San Diego Union-Tribune, 8 July 2023 The bird that got me started birding was the Red-winged blackbird, growing up in the suburbs of New York on Long Island. Degen Pener, The Hollywood Reporter, 6 June 2023 Five thousand dead red-wing blackbirds rained down in Arkansas, and 45,000 flying foxes hung from trees and piled on the ground in Australia. Marion Renault, The New Republic, 3 May 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'blackbird.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1836, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of blackbird was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near blackbird

Cite this Entry

“Blackbird.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


: any of various birds of which the males are mostly or entirely black: as
: a common European thrush
: any of several American birds (as a red-winged blackbird) related to the meadowlarks and orioles

More from Merriam-Webster on blackbird

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!