black·​bird | \ ˈblak-ˌbərd How to pronounce blackbird (audio) \

Definition of blackbird

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : any of various birds of which the males are largely or entirely black: such as
a : a common thrush (Turdus merula) of Eurasia and northern Africa having an orange bill and eye rim
b : any of several American oscine birds (family Icteridae)
2 : a Pacific islander kidnapped for use as a plantation laborer


blackbirded; blackbirding; blackbirds

Definition of blackbird (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

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

Examples of blackbird in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Additional sightings included 400 tree swallows, a blue-gray gnatcatcher, a brown thrasher, and two rusty blackbirds., "Most read on," 17 Nov. 2019 The narrator dozes in the front seat of the car and wakes to find a blackbird hopping toward her. Rumaan Alam, The New Yorker, "Motherhood Meets Lust and Violence in Ariana Harwicz’s “Die, My Love”," 17 Oct. 2019 In a 2012 study, scientists concluded that climate change had likely contributed to the decline of the once-common rusty blackbird, which has seen its range in Maine retract northward as temperatures have risen. New York Times, "These State Birds May Be Forced Out of Their States as the World Warms," 10 Oct. 2019 Morrissey notes that the species disappearing most rapidly—sparrows, blackbirds, larks—are associated with agriculture. Rachael Lallensack, Smithsonian, "North America Has Lost Nearly 3 Billion Birds Since 1970," 20 Sep. 2019 The results are dismal, showing that a staggering 90 percent of the lost populations come from 12 types of birds: American sparrows, wood warblers, blackbirds, and finches. Daisy Hernandez, Popular Mechanics, "Where Have All the Birds Gone?," 26 Sep. 2019 Some of the birds included in the drop off include warblers, blackbirds, starlings, robins, and sparrows. Joelle Goldstein,, "Birds in the United States and Canada Are Disappearing, New Study Finds," 20 Sep. 2019 Birdsong provides a natural soundtrack, as bulbuls, gray wagtails, warblers, blackbirds, and turtledoves all call the garden home. National Geographic, "Visit a designer’s oasis in the heart of Marrakech," 20 Sep. 2019 More than 90 percent of the total loss can be attributed to just 12 bird families, including sparrows, warblers, blackbirds, larks and finches. Rachael Lallensack, Smithsonian, "North America Has Lost Nearly 3 Billion Birds Since 1970," 20 Sep. 2019

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

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First Known Use of blackbird


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1836, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for blackbird

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

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Statistics for blackbird

Last Updated

28 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Blackbird.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 18 January 2020.

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How to pronounce blackbird (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of blackbird

: any one of several American birds with males that are mostly black
: a common European bird with males that have black feathers and an orange bill


black·​bird | \ ˈblak-ˌbərd How to pronounce blackbird (audio) \

Kids Definition of blackbird

: any of several birds of which the males are mostly black

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More from Merriam-Webster on blackbird

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with blackbird

Spanish Central: Translation of blackbird

Nglish: Translation of blackbird for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of blackbird for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about blackbird

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