hoa·​tzin wä(t)-ˈsēn How to pronounce hoatzin (audio)
: a crested large South American bird (Opisthocomos hoazin) with blue facial skin, red eyes, brown plumage marked with white above, and claws on the first and second digits of the wing when young

Illustration of hoatzin

Illustration of hoatzin

Examples of hoatzin in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Chickens share the most DNA with the first bird ancestor, closely followed by hoatzin and emu. Sarah Lewin Frasier, Scientific American, 1 Apr. 2015

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

Word History


ultimately from Nahuatl huāctzin the laughing falcon (Herpetotheres cachinnans)

First Known Use

1661, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of hoatzin was in 1661

Dictionary Entries Near hoatzin

Cite this Entry

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

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