: any of various usually very large extinct flightless birds of New Zealand of a ratite order (Dinornithiformes) including one (Dinornis giganteus of the family Dinornithidae) nearly 12 feet (3.7 meters) in height

Examples of moa in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The moa, a flightless bird over 2.6 meters tall and the pouakai, an eagle with a wingspan of 3-4 meters. Marta Balaga, Variety, 2 Aug. 2023 Today, moa are extinct and kakapos as well as kiwi, the nation’s bird, are endangered. Roni Dengler, Discover Magazine, 5 Aug. 2019 There were several different species of moa that are difficult to tell apart - egg DNA could help Oskam to do just that. Ed Yong, Discover Magazine, 10 Mar. 2010 Several others were classified by comparing, say, a femur to a toe, and by borrowing, inexactly, a system developed to assess New Zealand’s moa, another famous extinct bunch of ratites (generally large, flightless birds). Gemma Tarlach, Discover Magazine, 25 Sep. 2018 When Western scientists first encountered moa, the idea that species could go extinct was just a few decades old. Boyce Upholt, Discover Magazine, 4 Sep. 2022 Rather than cows or antelopes, there was a family of flightless birds known as moa. Boyce Upholt, Smithsonian Magazine, 12 Sep. 2022 The upland moa was also the last one to go extinct. Elizabeth Preston, Discover Magazine, 2 July 2012 There were 11 or so species of moa alive in the past, ranging from hefty to alarmingly large. Elizabeth Preston, Discover Magazine, 2 July 2012 See More

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

Word History



First Known Use

1839, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of moa was in 1839

Dictionary Entries Near moa

Cite this Entry

“Moa.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/moa. Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


: any of various usually very large extinct birds of New Zealand that were not able to fly

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