nut·​hatch ˈnət-ˌhach How to pronounce nuthatch (audio)
: any of various small tree-climbing chiefly insectivorous birds (family Sittidae and especially genus Sitta) that have a compact body, a narrow bill, a short tail, and sometimes a black cap

Illustration of nuthatch

Illustration of nuthatch

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Above, a nuthatch in a city park uses a stick to pry up tree bark. Nancy Averett, Discover Magazine, 7 Oct. 2019 There’s a wildness to poet Thorpe Moeckel — an attunement and in-tune-ment with the surf, the birch, the mud and flow, with wood ducks, cypress, nuthatch, moose, with the fast-slow shimmery passage of light and time. Nina Maclaughlin,, 13 Oct. 2022 Being seen are representatives from eight finch species: pine siskin, common redpoll, hoary redpoll, purple finch, pine grosbeak, evening grosbeak, red crossbill, and white-winged crossbill, plus red-breasted nuthatch. Star Tribune, 22 Dec. 2020 Our feeders in west Hennepin County attracted six purple finches and one red-breasted nuthatch. Star Tribune, 22 Dec. 2020 One nuthatch fell into tar and lost its tail feathers when it was cleaned. Lela Nargi, Washington Post, 8 Dec. 2020 Gary Ritchison, an ornithologist at Eastern Kentucky University, agrees it’s unknown why the nuthatches don’t trust the chickadees enough to repeat their level of alarm. National Geographic, 27 Jan. 2020 Learn about these ways, then take a hike in search of nuthatches in the wild. Mary Jane Brewer, cleveland, 6 Dec. 2019 The cavities that woodpeckers create and later abandon provide living space for other creatures — birds such as titmice, nuthatches and wrens, but also for flying squirrels, Mason said. Adrian Higgins, Washington Post, 17 July 2019 See More

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

Word History


Middle English notehache, from note nut + -hache; akin to Old English tohaccian to hack — more at hack

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of nuthatch was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near nuthatch

Cite this Entry

“Nuthatch.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Jan. 2023.

Kids Definition


nut·​hatch ˈnət-ˌhach How to pronounce nuthatch (audio)
: any of various small birds that climb trees and eat insects and are noted for their habit of going down tree trunks headfirst

More from Merriam-Webster on nuthatch

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

The Great British Vocabulary Quiz

  • union jack speech bubble
  • Named after Sir Robert Peel, what are British police called?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?