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 The starling’s stroke is remarkably similar to that of puffins, murres, and other avian divers. Elizabeth Pennisi, Science | AAAS, "Watch this ‘nonswimming’ bird swim like a champ, giving clues to evolution of penguins," 5 Jan. 2021 Pliny the Elder once claimed that starlings can be taught to speak lines of Latin and Greek. New York Times, "Letter of Recommendation: Starlings," 11 Feb. 2020 Mozart was smitten by the song of his pet starling, a theme singularly close... Stuart Isacoff, WSJ, "A Joyful, Melodic Menagerie," 24 Apr. 2020 Many surviving, stressed animals carry high virus loads (bats, small mammals, birds, chimps), while urban-dwelling species like pigeons and starlings, which tend to displace them, have also exploded in numbers, and carry additional diseases. Dominick A. Dellasala, The New Republic, "Public Health Depends on a Healthy Planet," 20 Apr. 2020 Among her subjects are Mozart’s starling, who sang one of his early works back to him; Dürer’s rhinoceros, immortalized in a woodcut; and Darwin’s lovesick tortoise. Lorraine Berry, Los Angeles Times, "21 new and classic books to keep you in touch with the natural world," 6 Apr. 2020 He's filled the seams of a retaining wall with pieces of floaty pool noodles, so European starlings (an invasive species) can't nest in there. David Gutman, Anchorage Daily News, "Washington county wants to shoot fireworks at trash-bombing eagles," 18 Feb. 2020 Usually the purple martin will tolerate the intervention and the starling may leave. Calvin Finch,, "Calvin Finch: Purple martins are back. How to attract them to your San Antonio yard," 27 Feb. 2020 Last year in addition to the problem with starlings, one of our neighborhood Coopers hawks launched several attacks on the houses and their residents over a three-day period. Calvin Finch,, "Calvin Finch: Purple martins are back. How to attract them to your San Antonio yard," 27 Feb. 2020

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for starling

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for starling

Last Updated

14 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Starling.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Jan. 2021.

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How to pronounce starling (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of starling

: a dark brown or black bird that is common in Europe and the U.S.


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

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