snow·​bird | \ ˈsnō-ˌbərd How to pronounce snowbird (audio) \

Definition of snowbird

1 : any of several birds (such as a junco or fieldfare) seen chiefly in winter
2 : one who travels to warm climes for the winter

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Snowbird has been in use since the late 1600s, but it has only been applied to humans since the early 1900s. It was first used to describe men who enlisted in the armed forces to get food and clothing during the winter months and then deserted as the warm spring weather approached. Not long after, the term was applied to the northern laborers who would flock down south to work as the cold, harsh winter set in up north. Today, northerners of all kinds, from vacationers to retirees, can be seen migrating as soon as the first frost arrives.

Examples of snowbird in a Sentence

Like many of the state's snowbirds, they live in Florida from November through March.
Recent Examples on the Web Its top destinations in 2020 included popular snowbird staples such as Phoenix, and Florida cities Fort Myers and Naples. Elaina Patton, NBC News, 6 July 2021 Golden-Bear, who settled in Quartzsite in 2010 and runs the town’s newspaper, the Desert Messenger, was once a snowbird, coming here most winters from Oregon. Los Angeles Times, 8 Mar. 2021 One must-have items any snowbird should have under their belt? Melissa Lee, USA TODAY, 22 Dec. 2020 So how will the snowbird that got her first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine in New York make sure the pharmacy in Florida gives her the right second shot? USA Today, 16 Dec. 2020 Schreiber said her snowbird contingent is usually composed of 65% French Canadians from Quebec. David Lyons,, 31 Oct. 2020 County tourism bureaus don’t closely track snowbird traffic. David Lyons,, 31 Oct. 2020 Tim Salter, a snowbird from South Dakota, on Thursday was searching for a new microwave for his RV at Home Depot in Lake Mary. Catherine Matos,, 16 Oct. 2020 The houseplant landscape of south Florida gives many of us a conservatory-like welcome during snowbird season but fall color, not so much. Paul Cappiello, The Courier-Journal, 16 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'snowbird.' 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 snowbird

1674, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of snowbird was in 1674

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Dictionary Entries Near snowbird

snowberry clearwing


snow blanket

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Statistics for snowbird

Last Updated

17 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Snowbird.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for snowbird



English Language Learners Definition of snowbird

US : someone who spends the winter months in a warm place

More from Merriam-Webster on snowbird

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for snowbird

Britannica English: Translation of snowbird for Arabic Speakers


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