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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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 The population is about 183,000, and snowbirds increase that number significantly during the winter. Patricia Doherty, Travel + Leisure, "10 Best Places to Retire in Florida," 28 Apr. 2020 Some retired snowbirds fled to their home base after the virus began to spread; others are sheltering in place. Los Angeles Times, "What’s a city to do when half its population is in the crosshairs of coronavirus?," 28 Apr. 2020 Ajo, a haven for artists and retirees that draws snowbirds in the winter from around the United States, is far removed from most of the coronavirus hot spots in the country, and seemingly ill-prepared for any outbreak. Simon Romero, New York Times, "Border Wall Work in Arizona Speeds Up, Igniting Contagion Fears," 31 Mar. 2020 What provisions have been made for the influx of snowbirds into Ohio in the next several weeks? cleveland, "What provisions have been made for influx of snowbirds? Ohioans share their coronavirus questions," 27 Mar. 2020 This is considered shoulder season, so snowbirds have departed and hotel rates are more attractive. Patricia Doherty, Travel + Leisure, "The Best Places to Travel in May (Video)," 18 Apr. 2020 Tourists have altogether vanished, and snowbirds are heading home early. Jen Fifield, azcentral, "'We really need to be prepared for the worst' — How metro Phoenix cities are responding to coronavirus," 24 Mar. 2020 In recent days, the Ohio Department of Health has asked that all returning snowbirds self-quarantine for 14 days, upon arrival back in Ohio. Susan Glaser, cleveland, "Travel in the coronavirus era: A quick trip to Florida to pick up Mom, then back to Ohio," 5 Apr. 2020 The department recommends snowbirds and spring breakers also self-quarantine, according to KFGO and KVRR. Julia Thompson, USA TODAY, "If you're traveling between states, here's where you'll have to self-quarantine," 4 Apr. 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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Cite this Entry

“Snowbird.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Aug. 2020.

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How to pronounce snowbird (audio)

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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