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 sparrow (audio) , -​ə-​ˌlīk ; ˈspa-​(ˌ)rō-​ˌlīk , -​rə-​ˌlīk \ adjective

Examples of sparrow in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web No country, including the United States, can be responsible for the fall of every sparrow. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, "Trump and Dictators," 20 Oct. 2020 The flying reptiles lived alongside the dinosaurs between 210 million and 66 million years ago, ranging from the size of a sparrow to the height of a damn giraffe in the case of Quetzalcoatlus northropi, whose wings stretched 33 feet. Matt Simon, Wired, "What Did Pterosaurs Eat? Look Very Closely at Their Teeth," 28 Oct. 2020 The dark-eyed junco is a medium-sized sparrow with dark gray plumage on its head, chest and upper parts that contrasts with the white belly and their white outer tail feathers. Jim Gilbert, Star Tribune, "That common migrant, the dark-eyed junco, is on the move in Minnesota," 15 Oct. 2020 This 2015 Wimbledon match between Novak Djokovic and Philipp Kohlschreiber saw a tiny sparrow land the best seat in the house to witness the Serbian advance that day. Julio Vega, USA TODAY, "Sure, that fly landed on Mike Pence's head. That's nothing compared to what flying pests have done at sporting events," 9 Oct. 2020 Jesus taught His disciples that not a sparrow falls to the ground without the knowledge of the Father. Cameron Hilditch, National Review, "What Pope Francis Gets Right," 7 Oct. 2020 Due to the reduced noise levels, the sparrow's songs could even be heard from a farther distance. Joshua Bote, USA TODAY, "Birds sang a 'sexier' tune during San Francisco's coronavirus lockdown, study finds," 25 Sep. 2020 Meet Frank, a female sparrow that was rescued this spring by Creager and raised with tender loving care. Mary Colurso |, al, "When a baby bird needs help, this Alabama woman swoops in," 23 Sep. 2020 There are more species of birds like the endangered Henslow’s sparrow. Bob Timmons, Star Tribune, "Crow-Hassan's prairie is a mosaic of wild things and built to last," 31 July 2020

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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Cite this Entry

“Sparrow.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for sparrow



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

Nglish: Translation of sparrow for Spanish Speakers

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

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