cross·​bill ˈkrȯs-ˌbil How to pronounce crossbill (audio)
: any of a genus (Loxia of the family Fringillidae) of finches with curved mandibles that cross each other

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Other sightings around the Cape included 5 snowy egrets in West Dennis, a continuing willet at Red River Beach in Harwich, 8 red crossbills in East Harwich, and a clapper rail in Brewster., 12 Apr. 2023 Irruptions also occur periodically with other northern bird species, including the red crossbill, common redpoll, hoary redpoll, evening grosbeak and pine siskin. Paul A. Smith, Journal Sentinel, 22 Nov. 2022 Four great shearwaters, a manx shearwater, and two royal terns at Gooseberry Neck in Westport, and a single red crossbill in the Freetown State Forest in Freetown., 9 July 2022 The people who lived here created sounds that reflected their environment and circumstances, not unlike the red crossbill’s developing songs to deal with mountain winds. Paul Kvinta, Outside Online, 23 Mar. 2022 There is the Cassia crossbill, a finch with a twisty beak found in a single county in Idaho. New York Times, 3 Mar. 2022 Hampshire County: Some notable sightings were a Connecticut warbler in Northampton, a green heron, a Tennessee warbler and a dickcissel in Hadley, and a brant and a white-winged crossbill at the Quabbin headquarters in Belchertown., 23 Oct. 2021 According to scientists at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, a single crossbill can eat 3,000 spruce seeds in a day. Ned Rozell, Anchorage Daily News, 3 Apr. 2021 Being seen are representatives from eight finch species: pine siskin, common redpoll, hoary redpoll, purple finch, pine grosbeak, evening grosbeak, red crossbill, and white-winged crossbill, plus red-breasted nuthatch. Star Tribune, 22 Dec. 2020 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'crossbill.' 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

circa 1672, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of crossbill was circa 1672

Dictionary Entries Near crossbill

Cite this Entry

“Crossbill.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2023.

Kids Definition


cross·​bill -ˌbil How to pronounce crossbill (audio)
: any of a genus of finches with the upper and lower parts of the bill curved so that they cross each other when the bill is closed

Legal Definition

cross bill

see bill sense 3a

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