ptarmigan

noun

ptar·​mi·​gan ˈtär-mi-gən How to pronounce ptarmigan (audio)
plural ptarmigan or ptarmigans
: any of various grouses (genus Lagopus) of northern regions with completely feathered feet

Illustration of ptarmigan

Illustration of ptarmigan
  • A summer plumage
  • B winter plumage

Examples of ptarmigan in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web But as temperatures rise, the treeline is creeping upward—and shrinking the ptarmigan’s already small habitat in the process. Sarah Kuta, Smithsonian Magazine, 10 July 2024 Pale white willow ptarmigans flap through a frozen alpine landscape, seemingly invisible against the snow. Carlyn Kranking, Smithsonian Magazine, 21 June 2024 He was taken a thousand miles south to a TB sanatorium in Hamilton, Ontario, where the teen boy – used to roaming land and sea to hunt ptarmigan, seals and narwhal – was confined to a bed, not allowed to get up and walk. Melody Schreiber, NPR, 2 May 2024 The ptarmigan is just one bird species that changes color in the winter, shifting from brown to white to blend in with the snow. Sofia Quaglia, Discover Magazine, 6 Dec. 2023 Willow ptarmigan The willow ptarmigan is Alaska's state bird. Olivia Munson, USA TODAY, 25 July 2023 This technique is commonly found among Arctic animals, including hares, foxes, lemmings and a bird called the ptarmigan. Allison Futterman, Discover Magazine, 6 Mar. 2023 The white-tailed ptarmigan calls the Uinta mountains home. Matt Hardinge, Outdoor Life, 30 Oct. 2020 Residing at 10,000 to 14,000 feet, chasing the white-tailed ptarmigan in California is not for the faint of heart. Matt Hardinge, Outdoor Life, 30 Oct. 2020

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

Word History

Etymology

modification of Scottish Gaelic tarmachan

First Known Use

1599, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of ptarmigan was in 1599

Dictionary Entries Near ptarmigan

Cite this Entry

“Ptarmigan.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ptarmigan. Accessed 18 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

ptarmigan

noun
ptar·​mi·​gan ˈtär-mi-gən How to pronounce ptarmigan (audio)
plural ptarmigan or ptarmigans
: any of various grouses of northern regions with completely feathered feet

More from Merriam-Webster on ptarmigan

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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