ˈshrīk How to pronounce shrike (audio)
 especially Southern  ˈsrīk
: 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 The loggerhead shrike is a rare breeder in Minnesota that gets replaced in winter by the northern shrike, which begins arriving in late October. Bob Timmons, Star Tribune, 21 Jan. 2021 Among male green tree frogs, smaller specimens lower their voices to sound bigger, and shrikes, a type of songbird that uses false alarms to divert rivals from food or potential mates, lie as a matter of habit. Paul Tullis, Town & Country, 30 Apr. 2023 Continued to host two Cackling Geese at Tri-Town Beach in Whately, three Black Vultures at Turners Falls, and a Northern shrike at the Orange Municipal Airport. Isabela Rocha,, 12 Nov. 2022 The Truro Christmas Bird Count had highlights including 53 red crossbills, 28 pine siskins, 15 Northern saw-whet owls, a Northern shrike in Wellfleet, 4 clapper rails on the Herring River, and a glaucous gull in Provincetown., 11 Jan. 2023 Several animals—including worms, lizards, small rodents, other birds, and even snakes—have fallen prey to the appetite of a shrike. Daisy Hernandez, Popular Mechanics, 14 Apr. 2022 My winter bird thrill was a northern shrike landing in a treetop just outside our back door. John Schandelmeier, Anchorage Daily News, 27 Feb. 2022 Franklin County: The area was graced by the presence of a Northern shrike at the Orange Airport and Northern goshawks in Colrain and at Gate 33 at the Quabbin Reservoir in New Salem., 20 Nov. 2021 In Newburyport Harbor, a black-headed gull and a little gull were spotted, and at Rough Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary in Rowley, a Northern shrike was observed., 23 Oct. 2021

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

Word History


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

First Known Use

1544, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of shrike was in 1544

Dictionary Entries Near shrike

Cite this Entry

“Shrike.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Jul. 2024.

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