wax·​wing ˈwaks-ˌwiŋ How to pronounce waxwing (audio)
: any of a genus (Bombycilla) of American and Eurasian chiefly brown to gray oscine birds (such as a cedar waxwing) having a showy crest, red waxy material on the tips of the secondaries, and a yellow band on the tip of the tail

Illustration of waxwing

Illustration of waxwing

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Piantedosi said that according to the US Department of Agriculture, at least 18 species of birds, including mourning doves, wild turkeys, bobwhite quail, cedar waxwings, and goldfinches, are known to eat the fruit of American holly. BostonGlobe.com, 5 Dec. 2019 In the Facebook video (below), a young cedar waxwing is offered food, but instead of eating it himself, brings it to an even younger cedar waxwing with a broken leg and feeds it to her. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, 20 Sep. 2019 Many birds – waxwings, grosbeaks, chickadees and robins – love fruit, which can be put out on elevated platform feeders. oregonlive, 29 Oct. 2019 According to the Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center, this is actually common behavior in cedar waxwings and has been seen in other bird species as well. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, 20 Sep. 2019 Its location in the forest suggests the tree's seed might have been deposited by a bohemian waxwing that swallowed frozen berries on a dark December day and perched on a nearby branch. Ned Rozell, Anchorage Daily News, 9 June 2018 Somewhere a waxwing flies on through an imaginary sky and Vladimir Nabokov is laughing in the dark. Ty Burr, BostonGlobe.com, 29 Mar. 2018 Dozens of different birds—Northern pintails, wild turkeys, Franklin's gulls, Steller's jays, and cedar waxwings, just to name a few—make homes for themselves in Yellowstone National Park during at least part of the year. National Geographic, 21 Mar. 2018 Eastern kingbirds, cedar waxwings, black-capped chickadees and warblers flitted from limb to limb. Manya Brachear Pashman, chicagotribune.com, 5 Aug. 2017 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1817, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of waxwing was in 1817

Dictionary Entries Near waxwing

Cite this Entry

“Waxwing.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/waxwing. Accessed 8 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition


wax·​wing ˈwak-ˌswiŋ How to pronounce waxwing (audio)
: any of a genus of American and Eurasian birds that are mostly brown or gray with a showy crest, velvety feathers, and sometimes red waxy material on the tip of the lower wing feathers

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