1 of 4

noun (1)

plural crows : any of various large usually entirely glossy black passerine birds (family Corvidae and especially genus Corvus)
capitalized : corvus
: humble pie
the braggart was forced to eat crow


2 of 4


crowed ˈkrōd How to pronounce crow (audio) also in sense 1 chiefly British crew ˈkrü How to pronounce crow (audio) ; crowing

intransitive verb

: to make the loud shrill sound characteristic of a cock
: to utter a sound expressive of pleasure
: to exult gloatingly especially over the distress of another
: to brag exultantly or blatantly

transitive verb

: to say with self-satisfaction


3 of 4

noun (2)

: the cry of the cock
: a triumphant cry


4 of 4

noun (3)

plural Crow also Crows : a member of an Indigenous people of the Great Plains between the Platte and Yellowstone rivers

Note: The names Apsáalooke or Absaroka are often used by Crow as self-designations.

: the Siouan language of the Crow people
as the crow flies
: in a straight line
Choose the Right Synonym for crow

boast, brag, vaunt, crow mean to express pride in oneself or one's accomplishments.

boast often suggests ostentation and exaggeration

boasts of every trivial success

, but it may imply a claiming with proper and justifiable pride.

the town boasts one of the best museums in the area

brag suggests crudity and artlessness in glorifying oneself.

bragging of their exploits

vaunt usually connotes more pomp and bombast than boast and less crudity or naïveté than brag.

vaunted his country's military might

crow usually implies exultant boasting or bragging.

crowed after winning the championship

Examples of crow in a Sentence

Verb The cock crowed as the sun began to rise. The boy crowed with delight. The rest of us were sick of hearing her crow about her success.
Recent Examples on the Web
Within minutes, Republican politicians and pundits were crowing on cable news and the Internet. John Cassidy, The New Yorker, 9 Feb. 2024 The killers themselves in any case did not shy away from crowing about their crimes in official documents. TIME, 26 Jan. 2024 That has left his supporters crowing over Russia’s achievements. Francesca Ebel, Washington Post, 19 Dec. 2023 But late last year, Lindell crowed that a federal judge had vindicated him at last. Amy Gardner, Washington Post, 7 Jan. 2024 Not surprisingly, the Kohl Center crowed erupted with cheers. Jeff Potrykus, Journal Sentinel, 10 Jan. 2024 Roosters crowed, though there were only him and a few others to hear. Yassine Oulhiq Sergey Ponomarev, New York Times, 11 Sep. 2023 But the superhero sequel — which was also slapped with a meh B CinemaScore — doesn’t have much to crow about after posting one of the lowest starts in the history of the DC Cinematic Universe. Pamela McClintock, The Hollywood Reporter, 26 Dec. 2023 While crowing that more than 410,000 men have signed contracts to join the military this year, the government has brushed aside demands from the families to demobilize those drafted in 2022. Milana Mazaeva, New York Times, 27 Nov. 2023
The crow hops a little way down the railing and back. Anne Carson, The New Yorker, 22 Jan. 2024 Heading up the hiking trails, you’re followed by the sound of your feet hitting gravel — and the caws of crows. Helen Li, Los Angeles Times, 19 Jan. 2024 This potent formulation features pure vitamin A to address the signs of wrinkles, crow's feet, dark circles, and puffiness. Shanna Shipin, Allure, 19 Jan. 2024 If either Perfect Days or The Taste of Things had missed the shortlist, those countries’ committees would be eating a lot of crow. Scott Feinberg, The Hollywood Reporter, 21 Dec. 2023 Or a crow, a dog, a chimpanzee, an octopus, or any of the other smart ones. Adam Morganstern, Robb Report, 17 Dec. 2023 Only a few non-human animals have passed the mirror test, including great apes, bottlenose dolphins, elephants, magpies and crows. Will Sullivan, Smithsonian Magazine, 27 Oct. 2023 The crow's correlation with the spirit realm also plays a role in its relationship with death. Sydney Borchers, Fox News, 14 Oct. 2023 The outlet added that crows and other species, like condors, are also attracted to shiny items. Marisa Sullivan, Peoplemag, 13 Oct. 2023 See More

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

Word History


Noun (1)

Middle English crowe, from Old English crāwe; akin to Old High German krāwa crow, Old English crāwan to crow


Middle English, from Old English crāwan

Noun (3)

translation of American French gens des Corbeaux "crow people," or names of similar meaning in the languages of Plains Indians adjacent to the Crows

Note: The reason for the application of words meaning "crow" or "raven" to the Crow by their neighbors is obscure. The Crow self-designation is apsâˑroˑke, traditionally rendered in English Absaroka, Apsaroka, with other variants; it is spelled Apsáalooke in the practical orthography used by Crow speakers. (The sound written l is pronounced as a rhotic tap by older speakers.) It is apparently a generalization of an earlier band name and has no etymology, though supposed translations of the word in the 19th and early 20th centuries frequently rendered it as "Crow." See Handbook of North American Indians, vol. 13, part 2 (Washington, 2001), pp. 714-15.

First Known Use

Noun (1)

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


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

Noun (2)

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (3)

1801, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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

Dictionary Entries Near crow

Cite this Entry

“Crow.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 3 noun
: any of various large usually entirely glossy black birds related to the jays
capitalized : a member of an American Indian people of Montana


2 of 3 verb
crowed ˈkrōd How to pronounce crow (audio) ; crowing
: to make the loud shrill sound that a rooster makes
: to make sounds of delight
: to brag loudly or joyfully


3 of 3 noun
: the cry of the rooster
: a cry of triumph

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