spar·​row ˈsper-(ˌ)ō How to pronounce sparrow (audio)
: any of a genus (Passer of the family Passeridae) of small chiefly brownish or grayish Old World oscine songbirds that include some which have been widely introduced
especially : house sparrow
: any of numerous finches (family Emberizidae) that are New World birds (such as the song sparrow or tree sparrow) resembling the Old World sparrows
ˈsper-(ˌ)ō-ˌlīk How to pronounce sparrow (audio)

Examples of sparrow in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Rayner said just one-fourth of the boxes house a bluebird, and half their nests are unsuccessful, victims of predators like sparrows, snakes and raccoons. Jennifer Dixon, Detroit Free Press, 15 Apr. 2024 Tame, or tame-adjacent, animals, such as wild parrots, peacocks, sparrows, and apes, were housed in ancient Roman homes as a form of amusement. Sam Walters, Discover Magazine, 11 Jan. 2024 House sparrow House sparrows live nearly anywhere there are people. Cecilia Garzella, USA TODAY, 29 Mar. 2024 Dark-eyed junco, Junco hyemalis – These New World sparrows overwinter throughout much of the U.S. Karl Schneider, The Indianapolis Star, 4 Mar. 2024 Though some activities do reward special sparrows too. Paul Tassi, Forbes, 1 Mar. 2024 Think the Cooper’s hawk, Townsend’s warbler and Bachman’s sparrow, for example. Sarah Bowman, The Indianapolis Star, 8 Jan. 2024 This is roughly the same flying speed of the great California Condor and far faster than the flying speed of a common backyard bird like a sparrow. Paul M. Sutter, Discover Magazine, 11 Dec. 2023 Among the likely birds in Sacramento: house finch, mourning dove, crow, cedar waxwing, scrub jay, mockingbird, sparrow, goldfinch, junco and woodpecker. Debbie Arrington, Sacramento Bee, 31 Jan. 2024

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

Word History


Middle English sparow, from Old English spearwa; akin to Old High German sparo sparrow

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of sparrow was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near sparrow

Cite this Entry

“Sparrow.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


spar·​row ˈspar-ō How to pronounce sparrow (audio)
: any of several small songbirds that have usually brownish or grayish feathers and are related to the finches
especially : house sparrow
: any of numerous finches (as the song sparrow) that resemble the true sparrows

More from Merriam-Webster on sparrow

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!