Definition of bird in English:



  • 1A warm-blooded egg-laying vertebrate animal distinguished by the possession of feathers, wings, a beak, and typically by being able to fly.

    • ‘I am currently using turkey feathers to fletch with, after spending half a day on a commercial turkey farm plucking wing feathers as the birds went into the slaughter house.’
    • ‘Whether the flightless birds used their beaks to impale or bludgeon their prey is unknown, Chiappe says.’
    • ‘They measure the bills and the wings, take the birds ' weights and label a leg of each with a colored marker.’
    • ‘With a three-foot wingspan and two long, streaming tail feathers, these birds are easy to recognize.’
    • ‘They were not the feathered wings of a bird or the leathery ones of a bat, but something in-between, sharing the features of both.’
    • ‘Instead, the birds strike with their beaks and hook their fresh meat on thorns or barbed wire.’
    • ‘It requires no special morphological adaptations, although it is most effective in birds with low wing loading.’
    • ‘A bird needs wings for lift, tail feathers for control and lightweight bones.’
    • ‘After you have clipped his wing, your bird will still be able to fly, but not for any distance.’
    • ‘To this purpose the bird will hold its wings out from its body until dry enough for flight.’
    • ‘Hence, the possession of feathers is unique to birds and defines all members of the class Aves.’
    • ‘Marine mammals and large flying birds are the animals most likely to be able to benefit from foraging over very large distances.’
    • ‘Bounding and undulating flight are distinguished by the way the bird uses its wings during the resting phase.’
    • ‘Youngsters were able to stroke the birds ' feathers.’
    • ‘Such cases of female competition and aggression have been noted in many birds and other vertebrates.’
    • ‘When on the water, a sleeping bird will tuck its bill under its wing; on land birds may stand on one leg.’
    • ‘Occasionally, a bird fluffs feathers and wings in a short flight, before returning to the field of perpetual avian motion.’
    • ‘On the fringes of the bay, fragile marshes and winding waterways are teeming with birds and wildlife.’
    • ‘Note the curled feathers on the wings, which become more prominent when the bird raises its wings during threat display’
    • ‘The black back of the bird separated the two wings from each other.’
    songbird, warbler, passerine
    bird of prey, raptor
    chick, fledgling, nestling
    feathered friend, birdie
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    1. 1.1A bird that is hunted for sport or used for food.
      ‘carve the bird and arrange on a warmed serving plate’
      • ‘When skeet shooting or bird hunting, those that ride high on the nose are preferred since you are shooting at objects moving upwards.’
      • ‘Remove the birds and carve down one side of the breast bone, snipping the bird in half.’
      • ‘The European Commission yesterday ordered a ban on all imports of birds and feathers from Turkey amid new fears over avian influenza.’
      • ‘Some people living near the husbandry have ignored warnings from the local administration and have stolen birds for food.’
      • ‘I roast my grouse for a short time at a high temperature - as long as they are young birds - and rest them for as long as possible to relax the meat and give it a uniform rosiness.’
      • ‘Then they collected the eggs they didn't eat and stored them in casks, and they killed birds for both food and sport.’
      • ‘The second panel describes how coastal tribes came on seasonal trips for food, trapping birds and catching eels.’
      • ‘The fact that the villages needed to trap birds probably meant that food was in short supply.’
      • ‘At the same time it brought the birds closer to sport hunters living in southern California cities.’
      • ‘Although we didn't detect any ginger in our ginger chicken fillet, the meat wasn't the tough old bird we often get off Bulgaria's grills.’
      • ‘In medieval Europe, scribes used trimmed feathers from the wings of large birds and various inks to mark a set of alphabetic letters on parchment skins.’
      • ‘Moisten the top of the bird with olive oil and then season with thyme, rosemary, oregano, salt, pepper and a few pinches of cayenne.’
      • ‘The upland stamp would be required of those hunting doves, quail, pheasants and other upland birds.’
      • ‘The farmer, seeing the birds he raised for food being killed, tried to persuade the hunter to stop.’
      • ‘When it comes time to carve the bird, you'll find that although it has already given its life, the duck doesn't easily give in to the cook.’
      • ‘There were also clan-specific food taboos on particular birds and wild animals.’
      • ‘Shooting the birds was marginally better sport than bagging dodos and to win a rosette in pigeon-shooting you had to kill in excess of 30,000 passengers in a session.’
    2. 1.2North American informal An aircraft, spacecraft, or satellite.
      • ‘When the Viper loses its engine, the whole bird usually goes with it.’
      • ‘The only one currently in operation is NASA's Space Shuttle, an expensive old bird, and set for the scrap heap in just six years.’
      • ‘As the end of the runway loomed in front of him, he pulled back on the control wheel and forced his bird from its perch.’
      • ‘We need better human intelligence and not just to rely on satellites and birds in the sky.’
      • ‘Within 90 minutes, he had the bird repaired and continued his trip south.’
      • ‘The insurance on the plane was almost prohibitive and finding an airport and hangar for the bird was even more so.’
      • ‘Many of these birds are lovingly restored, bespeaking the inordinate affections heaped upon them by proud owners.’
      • ‘After testing in 2004, the Air Force would like to buy six more ABLs and modify the test bird into an operational aircraft.’
      • ‘I didn't do a full restoration but had the bird cleaned up and detailed out.’
      • ‘I always like to relive those days spent flying the MATS version of it all over the world - a great bird.’
      • ‘The novel solution was to get the Navy to take over the birds, assign them Bureau Numbers to camouflage and confuse the rest of us.’
      • ‘Now almost all the new birds entering the fleet have some form of pilot and passenger entertainment system.’
      • ‘Now he's the dedicated crew chief for the 23rd Bomb Squadron commander's bird, the Bomber Baron.’
      • ‘The plane is a C130 Gunship, a classic old bird modified for special ops.’
      • ‘Curtain, was an excellent artist so the honor was bestowed upon him to paint the war face on our bird as we prepared to go into battle.’
      • ‘While there's a finite number of under- $60,000 airplanes, among them are some great budget birds.’
  • 2informal A person of a specified kind or character.

    ‘she's a sharp old bird’
    • ‘Will that wily old bird be proved right in the next few months?’
    • ‘The champion is a wily old bird however and Arthur was unable to press home his advantage.’
    • ‘Why make a film about a posh old bird and an emporium of entertainment?’
    • ‘It seems there's still life left in the old bird after all.’
    • ‘He's a tough old bird who has seen a lot of hard times.’
    • ‘To quote the old bird herself, we are not amused.’
    • ‘But the worst was an old bird who shouted at me about the poll tax and blamed me for Black Wednesday.’
    • ‘The landlady Anika was a senile old bird and was always telling me off for not paying my bills when I'd just paid her the day before.’
    • ‘We had done everything to breathe life into the old bird.’
    • ‘Maybe the old bird that called it in wasn't wearing her glasses.’
    • ‘But when in Rome London, might as well embrace the moment and see what the old bird has to offer.’
    • ‘If you flipped through the channels fast enough, it looked like the old bird had finally made up with Diana.’
    • ‘She's a strong old bird, but I don't think she'll recover from this one.’
    • ‘I sound like a tough old bird - but I sweated blood over this gallery and yet I would never want to have had those years any easier.’
    • ‘Her great-grandmother died of an unknown disease, and my gran was given a stack of money for the old bird's body - medical research I guess.’
    • ‘Yet England will remain unbroken, staunch old bird that she is, accustomed to the IRA and the blitz of the Second World War.’
    • ‘He remained a tough old bird, long after he left the army.’
    • ‘Every so often, in between weathercasts predicting temperatures in the 90s, they wheel out this wizened old bird.’
    • ‘Whether you have found a cure for cancer or you're just a daft old bird who can't drive makes no difference, as long as people know your face.’
    • ‘So I asked a wise old bird, ‘Sir, do you know any tricks to get this light to go out?’’
  • 3British informal A young woman or a girlfriend.

    • ‘I had a friend who worked abroad minus his wife and ran off with a younger bird.’
    • ‘A fit bird means a girl who is pretty good looking or tasty!’
    • ‘The other point is that men want to feel that the women they go out with mirror them - and we all want to prove that we can pull a younger bird.’
    girlfriend, girl, sweetheart, partner, significant other, inamorata, fiancée
    lady, girl, member of the fair sex, member of the gentle sex, female
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  • the bird has flown

    • The person one is looking for has escaped or left.

      • ‘The translation, for the benefit of my learned friend Mr Brownlee, is: the bird has flown its nest and it is free to fly the skies of the world.’
      • ‘Once the bird has flown, it's too late to do anything about it.’
      • ‘But the Labour Party Government is not going to amend the law now; it will do so after the bird has flown.’
  • a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush

    • proverb It's better to be content with what you have than to risk losing everything by seeking to get more.

      • ‘Tearing up the agreement may head off any potential lawsuits, but as far as TV coverage is concerned, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.’
      • ‘The old adage that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush reflects the prudent strategy to go for the sure thing’
      • ‘The KMT appears to have forgotten the old maximum that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush - and stands to become the biggest loser in the recall drive.’
      • ‘In a possible offer situation for a troubled company, a bird in the hand is certainly worth more than two in the bush.’
      • ‘Sometimes a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush but occasionally, the bird in the hand is really only a reasonable facsimile of the other two.’
  • the birds and the bees

    • informal Basic facts about sex and reproduction, as told to a child.

      • ‘‘My father never told me about the birds and the bees,’ it goes.’
      • ‘Probably the best scene in the play is where a Yorkshireman much older than me tries to sit me down and explain the birds and the bees.’
      • ‘He's far too busy sewing the sequins on the little one's concert outfit, helping Timmy with his algebra, and talking through the birds and the bees to a pre-pubescent Melanie.’
      • ‘As an example, Ciya told me that when she told her son and daughter about the birds and the bees, she told them all about contraceptives, and she offered to buy condoms for both kids if they felt embarrassed to purchase them for themselves!’
      • ‘There isn't a parent in the land who doesn't dread the day their child first asks about the birds and the bees.’
      • ‘When it comes to facts and values, we both agree that ‘moral facts are in as good a shape as facts about the birds and the bees ', whatever that shape may be.’
      • ‘Oh well, I suppose I will have to have ‘that’ little chat with him before he goes to work - the birds and the bees probably won't cut it with him, any suggestions?’
      • ‘My parents still haven't told me about the birds and the bees!’
      the facts of life, sexual reproduction, reproduction
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  • birds of a feather flock together

    • proverb People of the same sort or with the same tastes and interests will be found together.

      ‘these health professionals sure were birds of a feather’
      • ‘It's more of a case of birds of a feather flock together - people tend to gravitate to other people who are like themselves.’
      • ‘It seems to me - I do not know - that birds of a feather flock together.’
      • ‘Do opposites attract or do birds of a feather flock together?’
      • ‘The bottom line is that birds of a feather flock together.’
      • ‘Remember how your mother used to say that birds of a feather flock together, and you thought it was just a cheap attempt to insult your boyfriend?’
  • do (one's) bird

    • informal Serve a prison sentence.

      • ‘Police surgeon Alec ‘the Knife’ Mitchell also did bird with current and former Essex High Sheriffs Mark ‘the Reaper’ Thomasin-Forster and Andrew ‘the Sabre’ Streeter.’
      • ‘As a couple of the drunks walked past me I heard one say to the other ‘… I don't think that's a good idea to do that, you don't want to be doing bird again…"’
      • ‘A warrant for his arrest has now been issued and he may end up doing bird rather than feeding them!’
      • ‘He was explaining in detail about some armed robbery he'd been involved in, how they'd shot through the kitchen window and how he was sure he was doing bird this time.’
      incarcerated, in prison, in jail, jailed, locked up, in custody, under lock and key, interned, confined, detained, held prisoner, captive, held captive, in chains, in irons, clapped in irons
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  • flip someone the bird (or flip the bird)

    • informal Stick one's middle finger up at someone as a sign of contempt or anger.

      • ‘She stuck her arm behind her back and flipped me the bird.’
      • ‘Dustin tried to flick him a thumbs-up sign, however, out of nervousness he flipped him the bird instead, accidentally, of course.’
      • ‘Without hesitation I started walking away, Billy started yelling for me, pleading for me to turn around, but I stuck my hand in the air and flipped him the bird.’
      • ‘He sticks his hand out the window and flips me the bird.’
      • ‘Alya was about to flip him the bird, but changed her mind and stuck out her tongue instead.’
  • (strictly) for the birds

    • informal Not worthy of consideration.

      • ‘As for capital gains tax on main residences as well as second homes, that is strictly for the birds.’
      • ‘Leaving the telly on is strictly for the birds…’
      • ‘I hadn't intended to run on at such length about the crow, which I was using simply as one example of a wider thesis: that nature remains strictly for the birds.’
      • ‘When I was 10, I told my father that this annual migration to the south was strictly for the birds.’
      • ‘Purity is for the birds, as Rand would say, yet not adhere to.’
  • get the bird

    • informal Be booed or jeered at.

      • ‘It didn't take me long to realise I was getting the bird in the gilded cage treatment.’
      • ‘He was getting the bird every time he touched the ball, which admittedly wasn't often, and he roamed from wing to wing, either to seek the ball or a lower level of personal animus.’
      • ‘Some repetition's necessary of course, but it is far more interesting and amusing to watch Tanya's teaching methods getting the bird from Lucky than hearing a song sung all the way through after hearing it previously in sections.’
      • ‘He wanted to be Harry Kewell right up until the moment when Kewell misses a sitter and gets the bird.’
  • give someone the bird

    • 1informal Boo or jeer at someone.

      • ‘And while mobile phone tunes may already give you the bird, it could be worse, South suggests.’
      • ‘A guy misses a match - for his own reasons no doubt, that is not a justification to give him the bird.’
      • ‘I have an aversion to sites which literally give you the bird on the front page, so I didn't linger.’
      1. 1.1North American
        • ‘Residents and shoppers in Rayleigh have been given the bird after council plans to try and deter pigeons from the town centre were abandoned.’
        • ‘Maybe when Ron Sims gets on a bus to promote yet another tax increase for transportation the driver can give him the bird in the spirit of political free speech.’
        • ‘Ever since I graduated, in 1977, people have never tired of giving me the bird.’
        • ‘It is also because of the pheasant feathers on the arrows used with the longbow that the symbolic gesture is known as “giving the bird”.’
        • ‘I smiled to myself as I watched her start spluttering and yelling after the car and giving him the bird.’
  • have a bird

    • informal Be very shocked or agitated.

      • ‘"Hi Mutt, hey I've got a great joke to play on Alice. Lets fill out the card and then you leave and come back about two minutes after the game starts. She will have a bird."’
      • ‘The public seemed to like it, but the critic from the Vancouver Province came with his wife, and he had a bird: ‘How could I invite him to see this movie?’’
      • ‘But the critic from The Province came with his wife and had a bird.’
  • a little bird told me

    • humorous Used to indicate that the speaker knows something but chooses to keep the identity of their informant secret.

      ‘a little bird told me it was your birthday’
      • ‘He smiled, shrugging casually, ‘Oh… a little bird told me…‘’
      • ‘‘No, a little bird told me,’ Janelle said, anger and sarcasm dripping from her words.’
      • ‘I was about to convince myself that people were finally losing interest in the story, when a little bird told me to keep going.’
      • ‘Well - a little bird told me that you might have an interest in ships nowadays.’
      • ‘Hmmm… a little bird told me this morning that Ms. Hayward has a brand new boyfriend.’


Old English brid ‘chick, fledgling’, of unknown origin.