star·​ling ˈstär-liŋ How to pronounce starling (audio)
: 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 The last poet and the last starling will probably be found together, and for good reason — in the strange grace of starlings, lyric possibility is made concrete. Lisa Robertson Anne Boyer, New York Times, 24 Aug. 2023 In 1890, the chairman of the American Acclimatization Society devoted to introducing European plants and animals here released 60 European starlings in New York State. Diane Bell, San Diego Union-Tribune, 1 July 2023 And the flock seems to have an existence, an autonomy of its own, that the individual starlings do not. Steven Strogatz, Quanta Magazine, 31 May 2023 On a recent Thursday afternoon, the actress Keri Russell paused in a corner of Brooklyn Bridge Park to admire a starling. Alexis Soloski, New York Times, 18 Apr. 2023 Last year, Vinther reported that the layers of melanosomes in another fossil feather would have given it an iridescent sheen, much like the gloss on the wing of a starling. Ed Yong, Discover Magazine, 28 Jan. 2010 Crows and starlings tend to dig with their feet first. oregonlive, 1 Apr. 2023 Three superb starlings, one hooded vulture, and two pied crows managed to get out of the aviary during the storm, SFGate reported. Kelli Bender, Peoplemag, 27 Mar. 2023 In his Winter 2020 show, floodwaters rose over the runway as starlings murmurated on a screen overhead, braving fire, thunder, and crashing waves. Lauren Collins, The New Yorker, 20 Mar. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'starling.' 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, from Old English stærlinc, from stær starling + -ling, -linc -ling; akin to Old High German stara starling, Latin sturnus

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near starling

Cite this Entry

“Starling.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


star·​ling ˈstär-liŋ How to pronounce starling (audio)
: any of a family of usually dark-colored birds that tend to flock together
especially : a dark brown or in summer glossy greenish black European bird that has been brought to the U.S. and is often considered a pest

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