tan·​a·​ger ˈta-ni-jər How to pronounce tanager (audio)
: any of numerous chiefly tropical American oscine birds (family Thraupidae) that are often brightly colored and inhabit mostly woodlands compare scarlet tanager

Examples of tanager in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In their endemic ranges, these wasps are eaten by skunks, squirrels, or bears, or snagged in flight by kingbirds and tanagers. Hannah Hoag, USA TODAY, 28 May 2024 Birders will wear out their binoculars scanning for the dozens of species found at the park including meadowlark, summer tanager, northern shoveler and wood duck. Roger Naylor, The Arizona Republic, 7 Mar. 2024 Western tanagers are also a possibility, though their occurrence is quite rare here, with only a handful of winter records from Mecklenburg County. Taylor Piephoff, Charlotte Observer, 31 Jan. 2024 Western tanagers escort rafters downstream — yellow flashes flittering from juniper to juniper. Pete Zimowsky, Idaho Statesman, 31 Jan. 2024 The bright orange belly of a Baltimore oriole, the gleaming crimson feathers of a summer tanager and the royal blue plumage of an indigo bunting are naturally eye-catching. Carlyn Kranking, Smithsonian Magazine, 27 July 2023 The plumed paradise birds, the great and little egret, blue-throated and amethyst hummingbirds, the bright green Carolina parakeet, the Toco toucan, the lyre bird, the silver pheasant, the velvet bird, the tanager, the resplendent trogon ... Mary Jo Dilonardo, Treehugger, 25 May 2023 Weekly auctions in London, the hub of the world’s plumage market, would routinely sell single lots containing perhaps 4,000 tanagers, or 5,000 hummingbirds. Mary Jo Dilonardo, Treehugger, 25 May 2023 Splitting off from a type of tanager called a grassquit, the Galápagos finches developed their own morphologies over the course of millions of years of separation. Sam Walters, Discover Magazine, 10 May 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'tanager.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


New Latin tanagra, modification of Portuguese tangará, any of various birds of the suboscine family Pipridae, from Tupi tagará, taŋgará

First Known Use

1801, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of tanager was in 1801

Dictionary Entries Near tanager

Cite this Entry

“Tanager.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tanager. Accessed 19 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


tan·​a·​ger ˈtan-i-jər How to pronounce tanager (audio)
: any of numerous small mostly tropical American birds that are often brightly colored compare scarlet tanager

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