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

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web 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 Two Atlantic puffins were seen on Stellwagen Bank, along with a red phalarope, 2 Cory’s shearwaters, a great shearwater, and a Manx shearwater., 13 Oct. 2021 In the area, there was a red phalarope reported from Whately and a Connecticut warbler in Northfield., 18 Sep. 2021 Around the region, 140 Wilson’s storm-petrels were seen off Winthrop, a Wilson’s phalarope at Belle Isle in East Boston, two least bitterns at Great Meadows Refuge in Concord, and five grasshopper sparrows in Shirley., 7 Aug. 2021 Swans and 17 species of duck frequent Gillmor, which also provides nesting habitat for various shorebirds, such as the snowy plover, American avocet, Wilson’s phalarope, black-necked stilt, cinnamon teal and gadwall. Brian Maffly, The Salt Lake Tribune, 26 Dec. 2020 Offshore: Small flocks of red-necked phalaropes, parasitic and pomarine jaegers, roseate terns, and larger groups of storm-petrels and shearwaters numbering into the hundreds were seen from Jeffrey’s Ledge., 4 Aug. 2019 An out-of-place, out-of-season red phalarope was found at Harding’s Beach in Chatham., 24 June 2018 See More

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 9 Jun. 2023.

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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