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

Bottlenose dolphins, magpies, and manta rays are among the few species that have passed that test. Natasha Daly, National Geographic, "See 14 animals that have shown us their impressive smarts," 9 Sep. 2019 Penguin cognition is not quite as well documented as that of parrots or corvids (crows, ravens, and magpies, for example), which have been formally studied for years, says Anne Tieber, Curator of Birds at the St. Louis Zoo. National Geographic, "How penguins show their smarts," 25 Apr. 2019 On the seventh night of the seventh month of the lunar calendar, magpies soar to the heavens, hovering wing to wing. Vanessa Hua,, "Can bridge of magpies span divisions in U.S.?," 8 Aug. 2019 The Céline sensibility dominated the early part of the decade, until Gucci’s Alessandro Michele ushered in a period of magpie maximalism and Demna Gvasalia and Virgil Abloh made logos cool again. Nicole Phelps, Vogue, "Fashion Rewind: Why We’re Taking Stock of the 2010s and Where We’re Headed Next," 18 July 2019 Previously, the only animals who’d passed the test were great apes, bottlenose dolphins, European magpies, and one Asian elephant (and even some of those results were disputed). Sigal Samuel, Vox, "Breakups really suck, even if you’re a fish," 20 July 2019 Director Talbot is a magpie, pulling ideas from all over, effectively. Michael Phillips,, "'Last Black Man in San Francisco' review: This old house tells a story," 11 June 2019 And more importantly, how seriously is one to take the results of his magpie approach to scholarly allusion? Andrew Martin, Harper's magazine, "Not Mere Projection," 10 Mar. 2019 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

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

15 Sep 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).


concealment of treason or felony

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