\ 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 The first Northern shrike of the winter arrived at Plum Island., "Most read on," 28 Oct. 2019 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,, "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,, "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.

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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

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The first known use of shrike was in 1544

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Cite this Entry

“Shrike.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Oct. 2020.

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