spar·​row | \ ˈsper-(ˌ)ō How to pronounce sparrow (audio) , ˈspa-(ˌ)rō \

Definition of sparrow

1 : 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
2 : any of numerous finches (family Emberizidae) that are New World birds (such as the song sparrow or tree sparrow) resembling the Old World sparrows

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Other Words from sparrow

sparrowlike \ ˈsper-​(ˌ)ō-​ˌlīk How to pronounce sparrowlike (audio) , -​ə-​ˌlīk ; ˈspa-​(ˌ)rō-​ˌlīk , -​rə-​ˌlīk \ adjective

Examples of sparrow in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web South Shore: Reports included a Eurasian wigeon and a chipping sparrow, which was flocking with dark-eyed juncos, at Broad Cove in Somerset., "You're using a browser set to private or incognito mode.," 1 Dec. 2019 Even as species such as sparrows, blackbirds, larks, and finches have sharply declined, the populations of game species including turkeys, grouse, ducks, and geese have grown over the same time period. Jordan Sillars, National Review, "Killing Animals to Save Them? Hunting as Conservation," 23 Nov. 2019 Every hawk, sparrow, pigeon and penguin alive today has ancestral roots dating back to the Jurassic, when the first birds were just another form of raptor-like dinosaur. Riley Black, Smithsonian, "Newly Discovered Fossil Bird Fills in Gap Between Dinosaurs and Modern Fliers," 14 Nov. 2019 The results are dismal, showing that a staggering 90 percent of the lost populations come from 12 types of birds: American sparrows, wood warblers, blackbirds, and finches. Daisy Hernandez, Popular Mechanics, "Where Have All the Birds Gone?," 26 Sep. 2019 Miscellaneous: Among sightings were a Eurasian wigeon in Broad Cove in Somerset, a vesper sparrow off of Bakerville Road in Dartmouth, and a common redpoll at the Thoreau School Riverwalk in West Concord., "Most read on," 10 Nov. 2019 Across ecosystems, grassland birds — a group that includes sparrows and meadowlarks — were hit the hardest, the researchers said. Los Angeles Times, "Missing: Nearly 3 billion birds that used to live in North America," 19 Sep. 2019 Grassland-dwelling birds such as sparrows and meadowlarks have been hit especially hard. Jim Daley, Scientific American, "Silent Skies: Billions of North American Birds Have Vanished," 19 Sep. 2019 But sparrows and meadowlarks may be trickier: There's no hunting constituency to rally behind them, and their numbers aren't low enough to warrant federal protection. oregonlive, "North America has lost 3 billion birds in 50 years," 19 Sep. 2019

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

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

History and Etymology for sparrow

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

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Time Traveler for sparrow

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for sparrow

Last Updated

7 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sparrow.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 21 January 2020.

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More Definitions for sparrow


How to pronounce sparrow (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of sparrow

: a common type of small bird that usually has brown or gray feathers


spar·​row | \ ˈsper-ō How to pronounce sparrow (audio) \

Kids Definition of sparrow

: a small songbird that has usually brownish or grayish feathers

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More from Merriam-Webster on sparrow

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sparrow

Spanish Central: Translation of sparrow

Nglish: Translation of sparrow for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sparrow for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about sparrow

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