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 Lug soles excel on hillsides while rubber boots are good in wet woodcock lowlands. Tom Keer, Field & Stream, "16 Expert Upland Bird Hunting Tips," 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, "Birding is a socially distancing friendly sport you can do during the Great Wisconsin Birdathon," 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, "Best New Shotguns of the 2020 SHOT Show," 22 Jan. 2020 The property has a 10-acre easement and offers frequent sightings this time of year of bluebirds and woodcocks. Julie Lasky, New York Times, "$500,000 Homes in Mississippi, Missouri and New York," 1 Apr. 2020 For us regular wingshots, the .410 is best limited to woodcock, rails, decoying doves, and squirrels under ideal conditions all at ranges of about 25 yards. Phil Bourjaily, Field & Stream, "A Perfect Use for the .410," 18 Sep. 2019 Grouse, pheasant, woodcock, wood duck, goose, mallard, rabbit, deer, bear, moose, fox, opossum—all and more have contributed ingredients to fishing flies over the years. Morgan Lyle, Field & Stream, "7 Great Trout Flies You Can Tie Using Wild-Game Fur and Feathers," 31 Jan. 2020 An American woodcock was spotted at the Alewife Reservation in Cambridge. BostonGlobe.com, "Among reports was a painted bunting at the Cold Brook Preserve in Harwich.," 16 Dec. 2019 Even woodcocks, drawn to flower beds and patches of grass and trees, can suffer the same fate. Zachary Lewis, cleveland.com, "Lights Out Cleveland group stands up for birds by turning down the lights," 30 Aug. 2019

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.

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First Known Use of woodcock

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

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

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Statistics for woodcock

Last Updated

23 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Woodcock.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/woodcock. Accessed 11 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for woodcock


How to pronounce woodcock (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of woodcock

: a brown bird that has a short neck and long bill and that is often hunted


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

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More from Merriam-Webster on woodcock

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with woodcock

Nglish: Translation of woodcock for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about woodcock

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