road·​run·​ner ˈrōd-ˌrə-nər How to pronounce roadrunner (audio)
: a largely terrestrial bird (Geococcyx californianus) of the cuckoo family that has a long tail and a crest, is a speedy runner, and inhabits arid regions from the southwestern U.S. to Mexico
also : a closely related bird (G. velox) of Mexico and Central America

Illustration of roadrunner

Illustration of roadrunner

Examples of roadrunner in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Sometimes a coati, a javelina or a roadrunner shows up in the parking lot. Brandon Loomis, The Arizona Republic, 20 May 2024 Modern-day birds like the northern mockingbird and the greater roadrunner use their feathers to forage for food. Elizabeth Gamillo, Discover Magazine, 25 Jan. 2024 Greater roadrunner The greater roadrunner is New Mexico's state bird. Olivia Munson, USA TODAY, 25 July 2023 Hell, Greg Federman noted, many patrons even have names for the roadrunners and crows wandering outside the bar and through the village. Mark Eddington, The Salt Lake Tribune, 22 July 2023 The post, featuring a stark photo of the roadrunner, was flooded with hundreds of comments, many of them suggestions for naming the bird. Jonathan Edwards, Washington Post, 12 June 2023 Bird lovers will see roadrunner, wren, cardinal, gamble quail and desert owls (also: keep your eyes peeled for golden eagles). Kate Donnelly, Forbes, 17 July 2023 Maybe the roadrunner just doesn’t have a career in competitive swimming. Karla L. Miller, Anchorage Daily News, 7 July 2023 Baby roadrunner reaches bird rescue after 660-mile journey 0:20 A roadrunner hitched a nearly 3,000-mile ride from Vegas to Maine. Jonathan Edwards, Washington Post, 12 June 2023

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

Word History

First Known Use

1856, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of roadrunner was in 1856

Dictionary Entries Near roadrunner

Cite this Entry

“Roadrunner.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


road·​run·​ner ˈrō-ˌdrən-ər How to pronounce roadrunner (audio)
: a long-tailed ground-dwelling bird of the southwestern U.S. that usually travels by running

called also chaparral bird, chaparral cock

More from Merriam-Webster on roadrunner

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