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

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The famed swans as well as pelicans, herons, pigeons, geese and ibis were present but subdued, or possibly gloomy over a night of rising squalls to come. Orlando Sentinel, 28 Sep. 2022 Its neoclassical facade is covered in natural motifs—doorways flanked by ammonites, handrails that curl into ferns, bronze door handles shaped like ibis skulls. Jack Tamisiea, WIRED, 24 Sep. 2022 Franklin County: a glossy ibis at the Turners Falls power canal., 30 July 2022 Three sandhill cranes at Burrage Pond Wildlife Management Area in Hanson, two more cranes in Plympton, a white ibis at the Judge Cushing Puddle in Scituate, and a hooded warbler at the Manomet Bird Observatory., 20 Aug. 2022 Martha’s Vineyard: Two gadwalls at Katama, 25 wood ducks at Blackwater Pond Reservation in Vineyard Haven, two glossy ibis at Chappaquiddick, and two yellow-throated warblers in Tisbury., 2 July 2022 Equally unusual were a white ibis in Quincy and a lingering black-necked stilt at Nantucket., 6 Aug. 2022 The giant ibis, along with other physically distinctive birds of extreme shapes and sizes, is more likely to be lost in the current biodiversity crisis, according to a study published on Thursday in the journal Current Biology. New York Times, 21 July 2022 Adults of the largest bird in the ibis family can grow to almost 3.5 feet in length, weigh more than nine pounds and boast nine-inch beaks that bring to mind a Venetian plague doctor mask. New York Times, 21 July 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ibis.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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 6 Dec. 2022.

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

More from Merriam-Webster on ibis

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