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
sparrowlikeplay \ˈsper-(ˌ)ō-ˌlīk, -ə-ˌlīk; ˈspa-(ˌ)rō-ˌlīk, -rə-ˌlīk\ adjective
Recent Examples of sparrow from the Web
According to the internet and some 10,000 largely redundant photos, song sparrows do indeed nest on or near the ground.
These birds, about the size of the sparrows here in the States, come together in colonies of as many as 500 individuals to build by far the most enormous nests on Earth, at more than 2,000 pounds and 20 feet long by 13 feet wide by 7 feet thick.
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.
Origin and Etymology of sparrow
Middle English sparow, from Old English spearwa; akin to Old High German sparo sparrow
First Known Use: before 12th century
SPARROW Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of sparrow for English Language Learners
: a common type of small bird that usually has brown or gray feathers
SPARROW Defined for Kids
Definition of sparrow for Students
: a small songbird that has usually brownish or grayish feathers
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up sparrow? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).