ful·​vous | \ ˈfu̇l-vəs How to pronounce fulvous (audio) , ˈfəl- \

Definition of fulvous

: of a dull brownish yellow : tawny

Did you know?

Fulvous has never been a common word, but you are much more likely to encounter it in texts from the 19th century than in texts from the decades since - 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 that has 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.

First Known Use of fulvous

1664, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for fulvous

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About fulvous

Time Traveler for fulvous

Time Traveler

The first known use of fulvous was in 1664

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast About fulvous

Statistics for fulvous

Cite this Entry

“Fulvous.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fulvous. Accessed 26 Jul. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon


Test Your Vocabulary

Dog Words Quiz

  • shiba puppy more or less demanding cuddles
  • Which of the following animals has a dog in its etymology?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!