ful·​vous ˈfu̇l-vəs How to pronounce fulvous (audio)
: of a dull brownish yellow : tawny

Did you know?

Fulvous has never been a common word. You are most likely to encounter it in texts from the 19th century—unless, that is, you care about ducks. In that case, you might know about a kind of whistling-duck called the fulvous tree duck, which is a brownish duck with long legs and a long neck and an unusual world distribution. It lives in isolated populations in North America, South America, India, and Africa—remarkably without geographic variation. But back to fulvous: it shares a meaning with its direct ancestor, the Latin word fulvus, and fulvus itself is believed to possibly share an ancestor with flavus, Latin for "yellow."

Examples of fulvous in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Appearance and Vocalization The U.S. is home to two types of whistling ducks: the black-bellied whistling duck and the fulvous whistling duck, commonly called the fulvous tree duck. M.d. Johnson, Field & Stream, 10 Jan. 2024 However, the fulvous sports a bluish-grey bill and legs. M.d. Johnson, Field & Stream, 10 Jan. 2024

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

Word History


Latin fulvus; perhaps akin to Latin flavus yellow — more at blue

First Known Use

1664, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of fulvous was in 1664


Dictionary Entries Near fulvous

Cite this Entry

“Fulvous.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fulvous. Accessed 24 Feb. 2024.

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