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 ◆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
Recent Examples of woodcock from the Web
Reports of woodcock sightings from around the city started piling in after the snowstorm, according to people who track the bird populations in the city.
Depending on how his clientele is booking trips, the early and mid-fall encompass hunts for sharptail grouse and Hungarian partridge in the grasslands of Montana and North Dakota and ruffed grouse and woodcock in northern Minnesota’s forests.
The numbers of young birds in New Brunswick, where many woodcocks breed, have definitely been reduced, and adult birds that have been analyzed contain heavy residues of both DDT and a chlorinated hydrocarbon called heptachlor.
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 12th century
WOODCOCK Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of woodcock for English Language Learners
: a brown bird that has a short neck and long bill and that is often hunted
WOODCOCK Defined for Kids
Definition of woodcock for Students
: a brownish bird that has a long bill and feeds chiefly on earthworms
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up woodcock? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).