plural ibis or ibises
: any of various chiefly tropical or subtropical wading birds (family Threskiornithidae) related to the herons but distinguished by a long slender downwardly curved bill

Illustration of ibis

Illustration of ibis

Examples of ibis in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Behind a tall rock wall, the campus was a lovely oasis: ibises flew around acacia trees that were scattered among a series of small, squat buildings with red tile roofs, each housing a couple of grades. Emma Green, The New Yorker, 11 Mar. 2024 Make the quaint Inn on the Lakes, fronting Lake Jackson in Sebring, your base and wake up to sunrises that paint the sky crimson and ibises strolling the lakeshore below your balcony. Terry Ward, Condé Nast Traveler, 1 Feb. 2024 The living animals seized included sacred ibises, white-faced capuchins, tortoises and Burmese pythons, while the 28 dead animals included an alligator, a mandrill and a green-winged macaw, according to a search warrant. Justin Jouvenal, Washington Post, 11 Dec. 2023 Perhaps 20 of them parked themselves in the net’s path before the biologist touched off the rockets to ensnare 11 of them and, momentarily, one of the ibises. Brandon Loomis, The Arizona Republic, 30 Aug. 2023 In recent years, the ibis, which has a long pink beak and pink feet, has started nesting in Cape May, N.J. Lola Fadulu, New York Times, 26 Aug. 2023 Islands in the lake and marshy areas downriver were nesting sites for great herons, glossy ibises, Eurasian spoonbills and others, said Oleksii Vasyliuk, an ecologist and zoologist. Jeffrey Gettleman,, 3 Sep. 2023 Birds that once wintered at Tulare Lake — ibises, blackbirds and American coots — are returning in increasing numbers. Shawn Hubler, New York Times, 2 Apr. 2023 Flocks of white-faced ibises flew overhead, their long beaks and legs stretched elegantly against the sky. Brooke Jarvis, New York Times, 31 May 2023

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

Word History


Middle English, from Latin, from Greek, from Egyptian hbw

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of ibis was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near ibis

Cite this Entry

“Ibis.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


plural ibis or ibises
: any of several wading birds that differ from the related herons in having a long slender bill that curves downward

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