phal·​a·​rope ˈfa-lə-ˌrōp How to pronounce phalarope (audio)
plural phalaropes also phalarope
: any of a genus (Phalaropus) of small shorebirds related to sandpipers but distinguished by their lobed toes and preference for swimming

Examples of phalarope in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Mono Lake provides habitat for imperiled shorebirds such as Wilson’s phalaropes, which stop at saline lakes during their long migrations, feeding on brine flies and other invertebrates. Ian James, Los Angeles Times, 2 June 2024 Then there is Wilson’s phalarope, an unusual shorebird that often lives inland, despite a predilection for salt water. Emily Anthes, New York Times, 29 Aug. 2023 Among the birds counted on a seabird survey at Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary were 75 great shearwaters, 16 sooty shearwaters, 2,200 Wilson’s storm-petrels, two red phalaropes, and five parasitic jaegers., 5 Aug. 2023 Other Plum Island sightings were highlighted by an unseasonal merlin and a red-necked phalarope., 5 Aug. 2023 Meanwhile, in some of the species, such as the red-necked phalarope and belted kingfisher, the female bird actually displays more color than the male. Carlyn Kranking, Smithsonian Magazine, 27 July 2023 Birds blown in at Race Point in Provincetown included 43 red-necked phalaropes, a razorbill, 5 parasitic jaegers, 24 black-legged kittiwakes, a black tern, 3 Arctic terns, an Iceland gull, 60 Wilson’s storm-petrels, 4 sooty shearwaters, and 8 Manx shearwaters., 14 June 2023 Recent bird sightings reported to Mass Audubon: Last week’s highlight was a red phalarope flight along Cape Cod early in the week. Isabela Rocha,, 6 May 2023 Reports included a very late Wilson’s phalarope at Belle Isle in East Boston, 13 purple finches at Millennium Park in West Roxbury, and a clay-colored sparrow at Franklin Park., 6 Nov. 2021

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

Word History


French, from New Latin phalaropod-, phalaropus, from Greek phalaris coot + pod-, pous foot; akin to Greek phalios having a white spot — more at bald, foot

First Known Use

1771, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of phalarope was in 1771

Dictionary Entries Near phalarope

Cite this Entry

“Phalarope.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


phal·​a·​rope ˈfal-ə-ˌrōp How to pronounce phalarope (audio)
: any of various small shorebirds that resemble sandpipers but have thicker toes and are good swimmers

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