quet·​zal | \ ket-ˈsäl How to pronounce quetzal (audio) , -ˈsal How to pronounce quetzal (audio) \
plural quetzals also quetzales\ ket-​ˈsä-​(ˌ)lās How to pronounce quetzal (audio) , -​ˈsa-​ \

Definition of quetzal

1 or less commonly quetzal bird : a Central American trogon (Pharomachrus mocinno) that has brilliant green plumage above, a red breast, and in the male long upper tail coverts
2 plural usually quetzales the basic monetary unit of Guatemala — see Money Table

Illustration of quetzal

Illustration of quetzal

quetzal 1

Examples of quetzal in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Keep a keen eye out for the resplendent quetzal, one of Earth's most beautiful birds. Joe Minihane, CNN, 24 Mar. 2022 This town gets its name from the country's iconic bird, the quetzal, which was sacred to many ancient cultures. Christin Parcerisa Vigueras, Travel + Leisure, 9 Nov. 2021 Yuanchuavis likely flew similarly to a quetzal, a forest-dwelling bird that doesn't have the most exceptional flight capabilities, O'Connor said. Ashley Strickland, CNN, 16 Sep. 2021 The calls of resplendent quetzal birds puncture the hazy fog in northern Costa Rica's lush Monteverde Cloud Forest, where the treetops seem to scrape the heavens. Megan Zhang, Condé Nast Traveler, 16 July 2021 At 2400 meters above sea level, the hotel vantage point allows for a great view of the harpy eagle, the national bird of Panama, as well as the resplendent quetzal, which is most likely to be seen in Boquete. Michael Alpiner, Forbes, 16 May 2021 Located in a narrow mountain pass through which trade passed, Los Horcones would have given Teotihuacan control of the flow of cacao and quetzal feathers from the lush Chiapas coast. Lizzie Wade, Science | AAAS, 27 Feb. 2020 Although the cultures shared staples such as maize, the luxury goods prized in Teotihuacan, such as jade, cacao, and brightly colored quetzal feathers, all came from the tropical jungles of the Maya lowlands. Lizzie Wade, Science | AAAS, 27 Feb. 2020 Then came unexpected news: Guide Carlos Chavarria heard reports of a resplendent quetzal—the most iconic bird of the rainforest—at a nearby ridge. National Geographic, 19 Dec. 2019 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'quetzal.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of quetzal

1800, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for quetzal

American Spanish, from Nahuatl quetzalli tail coverts of the quetzal

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The first known use of quetzal was in 1800

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Cite this Entry

“Quetzal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quetzal. Accessed 2 Jul. 2022.

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