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

Not every blackbird encounter will end in an altercation. Anna Groves, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Angry birds: Watch out for red-winged blackbird attacks this time of year," 29 June 2018 New arrivals included one rusty blackbird, two snowy egrets, and 18 northern shovelers., "Bird sightings in Massachusetts," 21 Apr. 2018 Swallows, gulls and terns, crows, blackbirds and orioles, tyrant flycatchers and parids—all practice mobbing. Lance Morrow, WSJ, "Political Harassment Is for the Birds," 6 July 2018 The scientists also reversed the scenario, dropping host eggs from wrens, mockingbirds, and blackbirds onto cowbird eggs. Erica Tennenhouse, Science | AAAS, "Cowbird eggshells could double as deadly weapons," 8 May 2018 Come March, red-wing blackbirds will return to Wisconsin, which Byers said makes them her harbingers of spring. Brian E. Clark, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Winter birding in Wisconsin delivers sightings of snowy owls, eagles and more," 16 Feb. 2018 So colly birds likely refer to blackbirds, according to the library. National Geographic, "Do Partridges Really Live in Pear Trees?," 23 Dec. 2017 One version added a courtyard with a limo, the likeness of Alfred Hitchock and blackbirds, as a wink to the building’s moniker. Dana Oland, idahostatesman, "At 40, success and longevity of Boise’s iconic Record Exchange ‘a pretty remarkable thing’," 22 Dec. 2017 Scary blackbirds make for perfect Halloween yard art. Kc Morgan, Popular Mechanics, "3 DIY Halloween Decorations to Make With Recycled Materials," 18 Oct. 2017

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

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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

Comments on blackbird

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


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

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