pas·​ser·​ine ˈpa-sə-ˌrīn How to pronounce passerine (audio)
: of or relating to the largest order (Passeriformes) of birds which includes over half of all living birds and consists chiefly of altricial songbirds of perching habits compare oscine
passerine noun

Examples of passerine in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web All of these things still happen and are important for understanding evolution, but snakes (and similarly diverse animal groups like rodents and passerine birds) suggest that maybe big, sudden jumps are part of how the tree of life has grown too. Popular Science, 22 Feb. 2024 At that time, very little was known about this passerine bird endemic to São Miguel Island in the Azores, an autonomous region of Portugal in the Atlantic. Anne Pinto-Rodrigues, Smithsonian Magazine, 14 Sep. 2023 This poem ached to swoon at the skill and ardor laid at her passerine feet. Laura Reece Hogan, Scientific American, 1 June 2023

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

Word History


Latin passerinus of sparrows, from passer sparrow

First Known Use

1776, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of passerine was in 1776

Dictionary Entries Near passerine

Cite this Entry

“Passerine.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Apr. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on passerine

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