snowbird

noun
snow·​bird | \ˈsnō-ˌbərd \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Did You Know?

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

Now a national landmark, Vizcaya is a living museum not just to the early days of Miami’s rise as a destination for both tourists and snowbirds but to old-school European design. Jennifer M. Wood, Condé Nast Traveler, "10 Best Museums in Miami," 27 Feb. 2018 Panthers fever quickly swept South Florida, from the Canadian snowbirds who resided in Hollywood, Fla., to new fans around Little Havana. Gerald Narciso, New York Times, "Florida Panthers Hear Echoes of Their Early Years in the Golden Knights," 2 June 2018 The competitors have said the seasonal nature of resort work — which picks up in the fall and drops off in the spring when wealthy snowbirds leave Palm Beach — is not attractive to American workers. Washington Post, BostonGlobe.com, "Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club wants to hire 40 foreign workers," 6 July 2018 Trump's competitors have said the seasonal nature of resort work, which picks up in the fall and drops off in the spring when wealthy snowbirds leave Palm Beach, is not attractive to American workers. David A. Fahrenthold, latimes.com, "Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida seeks to hire 61 foreign workers as seasonal cooks and waiters," 6 July 2018 And so the legend is told: Florida is the place from which pickleball migrated to the Jersey shore, paddles and balls stashed in the trunks of white sedans with Florida plates driven by snowbirds to their summer homes. Amy S. Rosenberg, Philly.com, "Ocean City and the most cutthroat pickleball game at the Jersey Shore," 11 July 2018 Luscious heirloom tomatoes over milky sweet burrata are a snowbird’s delight in winter. Craig Laban, Philly.com, "Orlando's best dining thrills are outside the parks," 22 June 2018 Mary Jane spent her retirement time as a snowbird travelling to Florida for the winter months and returned to New England for the summer months. Hartford Courant, courant.com, "Mary Jane Pacino," 1 Apr. 2018 Akhtar Hussain, owner of the Village Coffee Pot on Donnelly Street, said the four-hour time limit is needed only when snowbirds are in the area. Jason Ruiter, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Mount Dora launches shuttle system, parking limits to ease visitors' search for scarce spots," 1 Apr. 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of snowbird

1674, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about snowbird

Listen to Our Podcast about snowbird

Statistics for snowbird

Last Updated

24 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for snowbird

The first known use of snowbird was in 1674

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for snowbird

snowbird

noun

English Language Learners Definition of snowbird

: someone who spends the winter months in a warm place

More from Merriam-Webster on snowbird

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with snowbird

Britannica English: Translation of snowbird for Arabic Speakers

Comments on snowbird

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

WORD OF THE DAY

to make faulty or ineffective

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Find the Cousins

  • a-large-tree-with-many-branches
  • Which pair shares a common word ancestor?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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!