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


media magpies will no doubt seize upon the president's latest gaffe and blow it all out of proportion


a pack rat whose cramped apartment is filled with a magpie collection of books, old newspapers, and tchotchkes

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The magpies have one of the best managers in the world., "Why Newcastle Should Be Challenging for European Football Next Season Under Benitez," 9 May 2018 The elder-glam aesthetic has dotted runways for a few seasons now, whether in the form of babushka scarves at Gucci or magpie silhouettes at Balenciaga. Vogue, "Gigi Hadid Revives a Granny Accessory," 24 Apr. 2019 According to Rios, the message behind her brand is less linked to traditional notions of sustainability, and more to the magpie personality that compels her to save every bit of fabric for reuse. Kristen Bateman, Vogue, "Step Into the Colorful World of Marta Rios, the Spaniard Hand-Quilting Dresses and Bags," 7 Mar. 2019 The Javan green magpies are one of the most endangered birds on earth. Washington Post, "Prague zookeepers use puppet to raise endangered magpie," 17 Apr. 2018 Elephants and magpies recognize themselves in mirrors. David Scharfenberg,, "Did humans drive this polar bear insane?," 13 July 2018 Birds such as crows, ravens, finches and magpies act as hosts for the disease. Hannah Holzer, sacbee, "West Nile Virus season has begun: 8 birds have tested positive in Sac County," 25 June 2018 For the traditional Frankfurt fare, go to Atschel, magpie in local dialect. Nina Adam, WSJ, "Frankfurt: A Business Traveler’s Guide," 22 June 2018 Image The omnivorous imagination of Alessandro Michele continues its march over the countryside, redesigning the hills and furrows of the modern wardrobe in the brand’s current magpie image. Vanessa Friedman, New York Times, "Gucci Has a Rave in a Cemetery," 31 May 2018

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

Last Updated

12 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for magpie

The first known use of magpie was in 1598

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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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with magpie

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for magpie

Spanish Central: Translation of magpie

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

Comments on magpie

What made you want to look up magpie? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

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