wood·​cock | \ ˈwu̇d-ˌkäk How to pronounce woodcock (audio) \
plural woodcocks

Definition of woodcock

1 or plural woodcock
a : a shorebird (Scolopax rusticola) of Europe and Asia that frequents moist woodlands, has large eyes and rounded wings, is of a variously mottled reddish-brown, black, and buff color with a barred chest, and is often hunted as game

Note: The woodcock has a long bill with a sensitive tip used especially for probing the ground for earthworms and insects.

b : a smaller related bird (Scolopax minor synonym Philohela minor) chiefly of eastern North America with a similar color pattern but having a solid orange buff chest
2 [from the ease with which the woodcock is snared] archaic : simpleton

Examples of woodcock in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Adults can join a naturalist and learn about the woodcock, a short-legged plump bird, in a presentation and nature walk at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, March 19, at the Knoch Knolls Nature Center, 320 Knoch Knolls Road. Michelle Mullins, chicagotribune.com, 11 Mar. 2022 While the grouse, woodcock and deer always have been plentiful, enjoying down time, time around the campfire, and family and friends makes the cabin special. Star Tribune, 27 May 2021 Higginbotham plans to drop fluorescent yellow liquid into the woodcock’s eyes, which will highlight any scratches. Lela Nargi, Washington Post, 8 Dec. 2020 The quirky and underrated woodcock was the inspiration for DeRosa’s Project Upland, a combination of magazine, podcast, film series, social media, and website. Joe Genzel, Outdoor Life, 12 Oct. 2020 Bear, dove and early goose seasons begin Sept. 1, with grouse, woodcock and duck seasons following, along with archery deer hunting. Star Tribune, 20 Aug. 2020 Lug soles excel on hillsides while rubber boots are good in wet woodcock lowlands. Tom Keer, Field & Stream, 2 June 2020 Riveredge Nature Center in Saukville has launched a virtual naturalist series on its YouTube page, including videos on the American woodcock and how to build recycled bird feeder. Chelsey Lewis, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 4 May 2020 These should make great carrying guns for thick-cover woodcock and quail hunters who need to keep one hand free for fending off brush, and who need a gun that handles quickly. Phil Bourjaily, Field & Stream, 22 Jan. 2020 See More

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

First Known Use of woodcock

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Learn More About woodcock

Time Traveler for woodcock

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near woodcock

wood coal


woodcock snipe

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for woodcock

Cite this Entry

“Woodcock.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/woodcock. Accessed 6 Oct. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for woodcock


wood·​cock | \ ˈwu̇d-ˌkäk How to pronounce woodcock (audio) \

Kids Definition of woodcock

: a brownish bird that has a long bill and feeds chiefly on earthworms

More from Merriam-Webster on woodcock

Nglish: Translation of woodcock for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about woodcock


Test Your Vocabulary

Words Named After People

  • name tags
  • Namesake of the leotard, Jules Léotard had what profession?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!