star·​ling | \ ˈstär-liŋ How to pronounce starling (audio) \

Definition of starling

: any of a family (Sturnidae, especially genus Sturnus) of usually dark gregarious oscine birds especially : a dark brown or in summer glossy greenish-black European bird (S. vulgaris) naturalized nearly worldwide and often considered a pest

Examples of starling in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web During the last avian flu outbreak in 2014 and 2015, only one chickadee and one European starling tested positive. Anne Readel, Better Homes & Gardens, 5 May 2022 In a spot overlooking a meadow in upstate New York, Thomas Phifer and his wife, Jean, have set up house in a handful of black cabins as tightly shingled as the wing feathers of a starling. Scott Frances, WSJ, 23 Apr. 2022 The European or common starling, like many birds, forms groups called flocks when foraging for food or migrating. Tom Langen, The Conversation, 14 Mar. 2022 When a starling swooped in to investigate some seeds on a log, Daisy swatted at the TV, growling in frustration. Megan Reynolds, New York Times, 7 Dec. 2021 The European starling or common starlings are not native to North America. John Schandelmeier, Anchorage Daily News, 30 Oct. 2021 For its part, the starling also functions as a visual pun, a play on the name of the Norfolk village of East Harling. Los Angeles Times, 26 Oct. 2021 Each starling in a murmuration is thus linked, no matter how far apart. Brandon Keim, New York Times, 1 Oct. 2021 There are also resident starling flocks that can often be confused with the common grackle, said Clive Pinnock, a birding expert and tour guide for Audubon Everglades in West Palm Beach. Kimberly Miller,, 12 Sep. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'starling.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of starling

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for starling

Middle English, from Old English stærlinc, from stær starling + -ling, -linc -ling; akin to Old High German stara starling, Latin sturnus

Learn More About starling

Time Traveler for starling

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near starling

star lily


starling's-egg green

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for starling

Last Updated

14 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Starling.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for starling


star·​ling | \ ˈstär-liŋ How to pronounce starling (audio) \

Kids Definition of starling

: a dark brown or greenish black European bird that is now common in the United States

More from Merriam-Webster on starling

Nglish: Translation of starling for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about starling


Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Color

  • a light greenish blue color
  • Name that color:
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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