: any of various usually brightly colored Old World passerine birds (family Oriolidae and especially genus Oriolus)
: any of various New World passerine birds (genus Icterus of the family Icteridae) of which the males are usually black and yellow or black and orange

Illustration of oriole

Illustration of oriole
  • oriole 2

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Mealworm seedcake, for example, is designed to attract bluebirds, orioles, wrens, jays, chickadees and titmice. Kara Carlson, The Seattle Times, 12 July 2017 The stream is home to tree frogs, while orioles, tanagers, crows, hawks and humming birds often fly overhead. Erika I. Ritchie, Orange County Register, 4 May 2017 Behind the birdhouse the bright red blossoms of a bottlebrush tree were attracting Anna’s hummingbirds, while a hooded oriole was sewing an elaborate hanging basket nest into the underside of a broad palm frond. Ernie Cowan Outdoors, sandiegouniontribune.com, 1 July 2017

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

Word History


New Latin oriolus, from Medieval Latin, from Old French oriol, from Latin aureolus golden-colored, diminutive of aureus golden — more at aureus

First Known Use

1768, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of oriole was in 1768

Dictionary Entries Near oriole

Cite this Entry

“Oriole.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oriole. Accessed 27 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition



ori·​ole ˈōr-ē-ˌōl How to pronounce oriole (audio) ˈȯr- How to pronounce oriole (audio)
: any of various usually brightly colored Old World birds related to the crows
: any of various New World birds that build hanging nests woven from various materials (as grass and leaves) and the males of which are usually black and yellow or orange and the females chiefly greenish or yellowish

More from Merriam-Webster on oriole

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

Commonly Confused Words Quiz

  • vector image of a face with thought expression
  • I went to the ______ store to buy a birthday card.
Spell It

Hear a word and type it out. How many can you get right?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.