magpie

1 of 2

noun

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

Illustration of magpie

Illustration of magpie
  • magpie 1

magpie

2 of 2

adjective

1
: collected indiscriminately : miscellaneous
magpie compilations of unrelated tidbitsHelen R. Cross
2
: given to indiscriminate collecting : acquisitive
what possible magpie instinct had impelled me to retain themS. J. Perelman

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
While this tale is thousands of years old, animal behaviorists still use this challenge to study corvids (which include crows, ravens, jays, and magpies) and their use of tools. Kenna Hughes-Castleberry, Ars Technica, 14 Dec. 2023 Peggy is a stout and muscular Staffordshire bull terrier, and Molly is a magpie, an Australian bird best known for swooping on humans during breeding season, not for befriending dogs. Hilary Whiteman, CNN, 27 Mar. 2024 Klimek: Elsewhere on the internet this summer, a lot of people were following another big story about European crows and magpies. Chris Klimek, Smithsonian Magazine, 21 Sep. 2023 This man, of course, is John Galliano, creative director of Dior at the time and, by general consensus, one of the world’s great fashion designers, acclaimed for his theatrical magpie vision and the maximalist joie de vivre of his clothes. Maya Singer, Vogue, 6 Mar. 2024 Designers in the Netherlands and an entrepreneur in Sweden tried to build their own machines; a few hobbyists even managed to teach magpies to bring bottle caps to back-yard machines. Ben Crair, The New Yorker, 5 Mar. 2024 Blue Jay, Cyanocitta cristata – Loud and colorful, these magpies will eat almost anything. Karl Schneider, The Indianapolis Star, 4 Mar. 2024 Any magpie with an eye for sparkle relishes awards season, a time when tens of millions of dollars in precious gems and metals roam the red carpet. Hannah Jackson, Vogue, 8 Jan. 2024 Peter is such a magpie for a great, telling piece of theater. Emily Zemler, Los Angeles Times, 15 Dec. 2023
Adjective
The language and structure of King’s sermons, tapping into this magpie tradition of oral performance, had many sources. Kwame Anthony Appiah, New York Times, 22 Mar. 2024 Though the idiosyncratic fashions in the photos are undeniably of their age, their magpie referentiality makes the pictures seem contemporary. Crispin Long, The New Yorker, 15 Sep. 2023 And sharp, human materials, including barbed wire and knitting needles, have previously been found in magpie domes, the scientists noted. Emily Anthes, New York Times, 13 July 2023

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

Word History

Etymology

Noun

Mag (nickname for Margaret) + pie entry 2

First Known Use

Noun

1598, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1796, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of magpie was in 1598

Dictionary Entries Near magpie

Cite this Entry

“Magpie.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/magpie. Accessed 26 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

magpie

noun
mag·​pie
ˈmag-ˌpī
1
: any of various noisy birds related to the jays but having a long tail and black-and-white feathers
2
: a person who chatters constantly

More from Merriam-Webster on magpie

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