shrike

noun
\ ˈshrīk How to pronounce shrike (audio) , especially Southern ˈsrīk\

Definition of shrike

: any of numerous usually largely gray or brownish oscine birds (family Laniidae) that have a hooked bill, feed chiefly on insects, and often impale their prey on thorns

Illustration of shrike

Illustration of shrike

Examples of shrike in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

One of the few natural predators of live lubbers is the shrike, a small bird that can decapitate the grasshoppers with its beak or impale them on thorns or barbed-wire fences. Adriana Brasileiro, orlandosentinel.com, "Monster grasshoppers swarm Everglades," 19 July 2019 All the livestock is gone now, and after some early failures, shrikes are being re-introduced in greater numbers. John Wilkens, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Zoo pursues dozens of little-known conservation projects," 17 Sep. 2017 In the past, loggerhead shrikes were very common birds across North America. Jackson Landers, Smithsonian, "Spring Brings a Wave of Baby Animals to the Zoo," 18 May 2017 Kingfishers give fish to their mates, while the great gray shrike, native to most northern climes, is more dramatic. National Geographic, "'Mouse Kabobs' and Saliva: Why Animals Give Strange Gifts," 24 Dec. 2016 The eastern subspecies of loggerhead shrike, native to Canada, is one of the most endangered birds on the planet. Jackson Landers, Smithsonian, "Spring Brings a Wave of Baby Animals to the Zoo," 18 May 2017

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

See More

First Known Use of shrike

1544, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for shrike

perhaps from Middle English *shrik, from Old English scrīc thrush; akin to Middle English shriken to shriek

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about shrike

Statistics for shrike

Last Updated

25 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for shrike

The first known use of shrike was in 1544

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on shrike

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with shrike

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about shrike

Comments on shrike

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

WORD OF THE DAY

a haphazard or makeshift solution

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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