: any of numerous passerine songbirds (families Fringillidae, Estrildidae, Emberizidae, and Cardinalidae) having a short stout usually conical bill adapted for crushing seeds

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web If your family is looking for a bird that doesn't require much attention, the finch might just be the perfect fit. Elizabeth Berry, Woman's Day, 19 Nov. 2022 Meanwhile, Mo’s brother Sameer (Omar Elba) briefly goes missing to chase an apparently rare finch. Caroline Framke, Variety, 24 Aug. 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 Amazon Crafted from a soft and malleable mesh material that can hold more than seven pounds of feed, the weather-resistant Kaytee finch feeder accommodates a crowd of birds to feed all at once. Daria Smith, Southern Living, 24 Mar. 2021 Genetic analysis later identified him as a large cactus finch, probably blown in from Española, another part of the archipelago that is over 100km away. The Economist, 3 Oct. 2020 The finches, for example, were the subject of a famous 40-year study that showed their beaks changed shape as drought and rainfall on the remote Galapagos Islands altered the birds’ food supply. Eric Niiler, Wired, 20 Jan. 2020 San Cristobal is home to playful sea lions, giant tortoises and finches, and idyllic beaches. Helena De Moura, CNN, 23 Dec. 2019 Most days, a family of cardinals shows up, then the chickadees and finches and a large, loud blue jay. Beth Thames |, al, 21 Apr. 2020 See More

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

Word History


Middle English fynche, fynch, going back to Old English fink, going back to West Germanic *finki-, *finkja-, perhaps going back to an Indo-European echoic noun base *ping-, whence also Greek pínga "nestling" and, with mobile s, Greek spíngon "siskin," Old Norse spiki "tit", Swedish spink "finch" (in regional gulspink "yellowhammer" or "great tit"), dialectal English spink "finch" (perhaps borrowed from Scandinavian)

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near finch

Cite this Entry

“Finch.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition



: any of numerous songbirds (as the sparrows, grosbeaks, crossbills, goldfinches, and buntings) that have a short stout bill adapted for crushing seeds

More from Merriam-Webster on finch

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