pyr·​rhu·​lox·​ia | \ ¦pir-(y)ə-¦läk-sē-ə How to pronounce pyrrhuloxia (audio) \
plural -s

Definition of pyrrhuloxia

: a medium-sized songbird (Cardinalis sinuatus) of the southwestern U.S. and Mexico that has a short, thick bill, a prominent crest, and gray and red plumage The pyrrhuloxia is shaped like a cardinal but the male is gray with red accents on face, breast, crest, wings and tail. His bill is heavier and pale. The female is all gray.— Phyllis Yochem, Corpus Christi (Texas) Caller-Times, 12 Feb. 2005 … many of the park's long-term campers maintain seed and citrus feeders for hummingbirds, thrashers, northern cardinals and the less-common pyrrhuloxias, the beautiful wine and gray desert cardinals. — Jim Burns, Arizona Republic (Phoenix), 18 Dec. 2008

called also desert cardinal

Love words?

You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:

  • More than 250,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

First Known Use of pyrrhuloxia

1896, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for pyrrhuloxia

New Latin, from Pyrrhula, genus of finches (from Greek pyrrhoulas, a red-colored bird, perhaps the bullfinch, from pyrrhos red) + Loxia

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about pyrrhuloxia

Time Traveler for pyrrhuloxia

Time Traveler

The first known use of pyrrhuloxia was in 1896

See more words from the same year

Statistics for pyrrhuloxia

Cite this Entry

“Pyrrhuloxia.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Sep. 2020.

Comments on pyrrhuloxia

What made you want to look up pyrrhuloxia? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three bears two of them look like theyre whispering to a third bear who looks chuffed to be the center of attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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