hum·​ming·​bird ˈhə-miŋ-ˌbərd How to pronounce hummingbird (audio)
: any of a family (Trochilidae) of tiny brightly colored nonpasserine American birds related to the swifts that have a very slender bill and an extensible tongue for sipping nectar and that usually hover rather than perch when feeding

Illustration of hummingbird

Illustration of hummingbird

Examples of hummingbird in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web This perennial will draw bees, hummingbirds, butterflies, and more with its flowers. Halee Miller, Better Homes & Gardens, 22 Mar. 2024 There are three groups of birds that have it: hummingbirds, parrots and songbirds. Nicholas Stfleur, STAT, 15 Mar. 2024 Researchers interested in such questions often have to compare different species with contrasting behaviors — say, a seagull and a hummingbird, both of which fly, but with different movements at different speeds. Quanta Magazine, 11 Mar. 2024 Nagging questions about fiscal realities aside, the setting, with its natural surroundings and outdoor aviaries, feeders and fountains, is a kind of spa retreat for hummingbirds. Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter, 26 Jan. 2024 Winged visitors:On Arizona's San Pedro River, hummingbirds reflect the health of a landscape According to Robin Silver, co-founder of the Center for Biological Diversity, the San Pedro River is a rest stop for migratory birds. Hayleigh Evans, The Arizona Republic, 24 Jan. 2024 From tiny hummingbirds to colossal humpback whales, the wildlife of the Caribbean serves as a major draw for tourism, with no shortage of idyllic islands and verdant peninsulas harboring a truly impressive amount of biodiversity. Jared Ranahan, Forbes, 12 Feb. 2024 The fun part is now to sit back and enjoy the gentle breeze while watching the honeybees, butterflies and hummingbirds have their feast in my garden. Caron Golden, San Diego Union-Tribune, 3 Feb. 2024 Eastern monarch butterflies are famous for traveling 2500 miles from their nesting grounds in Canada all the way to Mexico, like hummingbirds. Sofia Quaglia, Discover Magazine, 6 Dec. 2023

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

Word History

First Known Use

1637, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of hummingbird was in 1637

Dictionary Entries Near hummingbird

Cite this Entry

“Hummingbird.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


hum·​ming·​bird ˈhəm-iŋ-ˌbərd How to pronounce hummingbird (audio)
: any of numerous tiny brightly colored American birds related to the swifts and having narrow swiftly beating wings, a slender bill, and a long tongue for sipping nectar

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