wag·​tail ˈwag-ˌtāl How to pronounce wagtail (audio)
: any of various chiefly Old World oscine birds (family Motacillidae) related to the pipits and having a long tail that they habitually jerk up and down

Examples of wagtail in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The word steort fell out of general use around 1300, surviving only in the names of birds like redstart and wagstart (better known today as the wagtail). Simon Horobin, Quartz, 10 Nov. 2019 Birdsong provides a natural soundtrack, as bulbuls, gray wagtails, warblers, blackbirds, and turtledoves all call the garden home. National Geographic, 20 Sep. 2019 A female duck grabbed the grey wagtail in her beak, dunked it several times beneath the water, then ate it, Petrovan says. Arden Dier, Fox News, 3 July 2017 The area is unusually abundant with animal life: the novel’s first chapter teems with wagtails, willow warblers, geese, horses, snow leopards, wolves, sheep, goats, geckos, and frogs. Evan James, The New Yorker, 8 June 2017

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

Word History

First Known Use

1510, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of wagtail was in 1510

Dictionary Entries Near wagtail

Cite this Entry

“Wagtail.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wagtail. Accessed 2 Mar. 2024.

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