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 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, "‘Astounding new finds’ suggest ancient empire may be hiding in plain sight," 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, "‘Astounding new finds’ suggest ancient empire may be hiding in plain sight," 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, "Here’s how travelers can help protect frogs in Costa Rica," 19 Dec. 2019 Domingo Bernane Ajpop-Tzaj, from Guatemala, told agents his family was paying 110,000 quetzal, or a little more than $14,000, for his journey. Justin Rohrlich, Quartz, "Human smugglers in Texas allegedly terrorized captive migrants with Tasers and pistols," 3 Sep. 2019 Wild inhabitants include the resplendent quetzal, rare species of glass frogs, and elusive animals such as the Baird’s tapir. National Geographic, "EXPLORE THE WORLD WITH NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC," 8 Apr. 2019 Today feathers from endangered birds such as the quetzal are illegally bought and sold online, Johnson says. National Geographic, "How an Obsession With Rare Bird Feathers Turned Criminal," 23 Apr. 2018 Among the missing skins were rare and precious quetzals and cotingas, from Central and South America; and bowerbirds, Indian crows and birds of paradise that Alfred Russel Wallace had shipped over from New Guinea. Franz Lidz, Smithsonian, "The Great Feather Heist," 21 Mar. 2018 The higher dollar inflows from migrants and lower oil prices have helped the country’s currency, the quetzal, gain 3.2 percent this year versus the dollar, the best performance among major currencies in the region. Michael D Mcdonald, Bloomberg.com, "Guatemala’s Political Crisis Could Hurt Growth, Central Bank Says," 1 Sep. 2017

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.

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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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Time Traveler for 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 5 May. 2021.

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