mag·​pie | \ ˈmag-ˌpī How to pronounce magpie (audio) \

Definition of magpie

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : any of various birds (especially Pica pica) related to the jays but having a long graduated tail and black-and-white or brightly colored plumage
2 : a person who chatters noisily
3 : one who collects indiscriminately



Definition of magpie (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : collected indiscriminately : miscellaneous magpie compilations of unrelated tidbits— Helen R. Cross
2 : given to indiscriminate collecting : acquisitive what possible magpie instinct had impelled me to retain them— S. J. Perelman

Illustration of magpie

Illustration of magpie


magpie 1

In the meaning defined above

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Examples of magpie in a Sentence

Noun media magpies will no doubt seize upon the president's latest gaffe and blow it all out of proportion Adjective a pack rat whose cramped apartment is filled with a magpie collection of books, old newspapers, and tchotchkes
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Not the least of these: The magpie must learn to fly again and the once-ebullient Sam must find a way to, well, soar once more. Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times, "Review: A bird inspires Naomi Watts in family drama ‘Penguin Bloom’," 27 Jan. 2021 Charlie Gilmour describes with wit and tenderness his unplanned adoption of a baby magpie, which becomes an object of fascination. Monitor Reviewers, The Christian Science Monitor, "New year, new reading list: The 10 best books of January 2021," 19 Jan. 2021 Sparkly packages and shiny lights might attract you the way silver foil attracts a magpie. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive, "Horoscope for Dec. 23, 2020: Libra, honor your commitments; Aquarius, touch base with bosses," 23 Dec. 2020 While other homeowners might prefer their live-in cook keep an antiseptic apartment, Pasti celebrates Lezaar’s magpie urge to acquire, a compulsion facilitated by Tangier’s famous flea markets. Nancy Hass, New York Times, "In Morocco, a Compact Apartment Filled With Over 10,000 Curios," 2 Oct. 2020 Moira may get beauty inspiration the same way a magpie steals shiny objects, but her look isn't directly inspired by anyone in particular. Samantha Sasso,, "How Moira Rose’s Red Lips Make Her Stand Out On Schitt’s Creek," 21 Sep. 2020 Corvids are a family of birds that includes crows, ravens, and magpies—and many are abundant this time of year. Katherine Ellen Foley, Quartz, "The Corvid-19 quiz: Test your knowledge of the birds, not Covid-19," 6 Apr. 2020 Wood frogs waited in tundra ponds, magpies in shrub thickets, red squirrels in boreal woods. New York Times, "‘The Adventurer’s Son,’ by Roman Dial: An Excerpt," 18 Feb. 2020 The result is purposefully overwhelming, as Ogunlesi’s magpie eye combines the very best parts of nightlife culture across both London and her hometown. Vogue, "Mowalola Launches Her Anarchic London Exhibition With the Help of Skepta and Yves Tumor," 9 Dec. 2019

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

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First Known Use of magpie


1598, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1796, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for magpie


Mag (nickname for Margaret) + pie entry 2

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Statistics for magpie

Cite this Entry

“Magpie.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for magpie



English Language Learners Definition of magpie

: a noisy black-and-white bird
chiefly British, informal : a person who collects and keeps different things


mag·​pie | \ ˈmag-ˌpī How to pronounce magpie (audio) \

Kids Definition of magpie

: a noisy black-and-white bird related to the jays

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More from Merriam-Webster on magpie

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for magpie

Nglish: Translation of magpie for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about magpie

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