One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1An Old World seed-eating songbird related to the finches, typically having brown streaked plumage and a boldly marked head.
Family Emberizidae, subfamily Emberizinae (the bunting family and subfamily): several genera, in particular Emberiza, and numerous species
- ‘It is the French and gastronomic name for the little bird which the French fancy most in the genus Emberiza, whose members are known as buntings in non-gastronomic English.’
- ‘As some of us slept, others watched the courtship of a pair of paradise flycatchers and a pair of crested buntings.’
- ‘The top favourites are parakeets, munias, weavers, buntings and the Blue Rock Pigeon, and the top 10 species account for 75 per cent of indigenous trade.’
- ‘The second half of the name yellowhammer is thought to derive from the German for bunting which is ‘ammer’, yellowhammers being the commonest of the buntings.’
- ‘In winter, our resident population is increased by large numbers of birds from the Continent, forming flocks on farmland, often with other finches, buntings and sparrows.’
- ‘Golden orioles, buntings, hawks and rock doves are common on the island, as is the Scops Owl whose soft and penetrating pew-pew call drifts hauntingly through the olive groves as soon as the sun begins to set.’
- ‘Through gruesomely efficient methods of mist-netting and bird-liming, Japanese hunters delivered huge catches of thrushes, grosbeaks, finches, siskins, and buntings.’
- ‘A reduction in size at that time may have allowed buntings to exploit that new food resource (grass seeds).’
- ‘It involves French President François Mitterrand and the ortolan, the small bird known in this country as the bunting.’
- ‘Snipe, red buntings, yellowhammers and even kingfishers are supposedly hereabouts.’
- ‘Seed-eating farmland birds, mainly finches and buntings, appear to have been particularly hard hit, with severe declines in Britain and Europe over the last 30 years.’
- ‘By July, the activities here of young bearded tits and buntings and their busy parents may reveal their hiding places.’
- ‘Red buntings skirmish in its spray at the waterside, kingfishers gyrate through the arch of the bridge and a bold heron stands sentry on a rock below.’
- ‘Then, a crested bunting, neat in russet and black and pointy crest comes down to drink, and makes your evening.’
- ‘In winter, found also in fields and even gardens, feeding with other buntings and finches.’
- ‘You are no summer bird of passage, come and gone with the bunting.’
- ‘Longspurs, buntings, towhees and seedeaters are the groups within Emberizidae that most often show sexual dimorphism.’
- ‘I saw mockingbirds and bluebirds on my slow drive back, but grosbeaks, tanagers, kingbirds, and buntings are apparently not back yet.’
- ‘Unlike most birds with different breeding and non-breeding plumages, buntings molt only once a year.’
- ‘Each occasion a large gull or carrion crow passed overhead, the buntings took all wing, providing a most impressive spectacle.’
2A small New World songbird of the cardinal subfamily, the male of which is mainly or partly bright blue in colour.
Family Emberizidae, subfamily Cardinalinae: genera Passerina and Cyanocompsa, and several species
- ‘We found a male indigo bunting singing at the top of a tree and in an adjacent tree was a singing male blue grosbeak.’
- ‘A few lucky people from in our area find indigo buntings - small, very bright blue birds that are not numerous in our area - are regular visitors at their feeders.’
- ‘Right outside the window a male indigo bunting and a male goldfinch are eating side by side.’
- ‘As soon as you turn left stop at the clump of trees on the right, this is a great spot for indigo buntings (didn't see any today but it's still a little early).’
- ‘These researchers studied brown-headed cowbirds, a species that lays eggs in the nests of other species, in their case indigo buntings.’
- ‘The Shell Mound-an ancient midden pile, with equally ancient live oaks-offered a haven for scarlet tanagers, blue grosbeaks, and indigo buntings.’
- ‘The wait was well worth it, although a funny thing happened from the first time we saw an indigo bunting early in the morning to the umpteenth time we spotted it as the day progressed.’
- ‘Young indigo buntings and zebra finches require social interactions to acquire songs.’
- ‘Now, of course, the avid pursuit of lazuli buntings and Blackburnian warblers is no longer merely a hobby.’
- ‘This area is a haven in the fall for all sorts of birds, including blue grosbeaks, indigo buntings and an array of sparrows.’
- ‘Payne and Payne found no evidence that indigo buntings had an inherited tendency to disperse, but migratory direction seems to be innate for juveniles.’
- ‘If your karma is good and you're having a good day, you may also see bald eagles, northern mockingbirds, scarlet tanagers and indigo buntings.’
Middle English: of unknown origin.
1Flags and other colourful festive decorations.
banner, standard, ensign, pennant, pennon, banderole, streamer, jackView synonyms
- ‘I have seen just one Union Flag, and although The Edge on Soho Square has bunting it looks more like it's been borrowed from a school fête than put up for the jubilee.’
- ‘He thanked all those who had decorated their premises with flags and bunting, and had a special word of praise for the residents of McHale Road for entering into the spirit of the parade.’
- ‘Hang out the bunting and crack open the whisky Edinburgh has joined a select group of towns and cities that now boasts unbundled telecoms loops.’
- ‘Break out the bunting, for a new disc has arrived from Celine Dion, who I could have sworn announced her retirement a few years back.’
- ‘Decked with flags and bunting it arrived in the port to a local welcome, the type of bigger, safer fishing boat that would seem to be the future of the fishing industry.’
- ‘It's St George's Day and the bunting is flapping in the breeze outside the Barmy Arms in Twickenham.’
- ‘Club colours and banners bristled from every corner as bunting and flags adorned the spectators and the ground alike.’
- ‘When people saw the bunting in the town they asked ‘Are we having a festival’?’
- ‘WHEN 19-year-old swimmer Doris Storey returned home from the Empire Games with two gold medals they put the bunting up in Leeds and thousands lined the streets to welcome her home.’
- ‘It would be greatly appreciated if businesses would support in decorating their premises with flags, bunting or whatever they wish to add to the atmosphere.’
- ‘Leigh Carnival is back in a big way - 19 years after the bunting was rolled away for the last time.’
- ‘The school was decked in flags and bunting on Monday morning last to celebrate the winning team's victory.’
- ‘Decked out in bunting and flying the Red Ensign, the iconic boat had been spruced up for the occasion.’
- ‘Residents along the route are asked in this Millennium Year to decorate their households by flying flags, bunting, etc.’
- ‘Yes, I know you really want a British driver to win so you can get the bunting out but this is formula one, where only winning and money cut any ice.’
- ‘Forgive me, though, if I fail to dig out the bunting for the present.’
- ‘A sea of colour greeted the guests on arrival at the Gaelscoil as flags, banners and bunting representing GAA colours of all counties were on parade but the red, yellow and green of Carlow stole the show.’
- ‘Boldly striped and lettered in red and green, the bunting is passed forward from hand to hand over the waving arms of a cheering crowd and, quickly gathered, disappears.’
- ‘As I jog down Whitehall, I notice there is bunting decorating the Treasury.’
- ‘Flags adorned every car, gate post and tractor and bunting aplenty created a carnival atmosphere.’
- 1.1 A loosely woven fabric used to make bunting.
- ‘When I was a kid in the mid-1940s, can't remember the exact date but it was the year I had measles, we put up brightly-printed linen bunting for our street party in celebration of VE day.’
- ‘Most of the churches in town have taken the red, white and blue bunting off their facades for Thanksgiving, and by next week Christmas decorations will outnumber American flags.’
- ‘The entrance to Bombay's Birla Matushree Auditorium is festooned with blue and red bunting.’
- ‘To the accompaniment of much laughter and fun, many yards of bunting were made from pieces of left-over fabric and torn sheeting.’
- ‘In York, there had been a last-minute rush for red, white and blue bunting, as people arranged street parties.’
- ‘The couple drew their curtains yesterday morning to find well-wishers had strung red, white and blue bunting from five trees on the green opposite their home.’
- ‘In Liverpool blue bunting hangs from the civic buildings, the locals have a swagger in their step and even the scowling scallies who hang around the street corners break into an occasional smile.’
- ‘And then this guy looks me square in the eye as he peels the red, white and blue bunting off the railing in front of us in Section 250 at Busch Stadium.’
- ‘He records the theater marquee as it changes through one final calendar of concerts, ending with a somber marquee bearing only black bunting and the American flag as a sign of mourning.’
- ‘On festive occasions the streets fluttered with red, white, and blue bunting, the colours of the tricolour flag adopted by the French Nation in 1789.’
Early 18th century: of unknown origin.
A hooded sleeping bag for babies.
- ‘Your baby's stroller becomes like a bunting on wheels with these blankets.’
- ‘It means - it's like a baby, you know, the bunting clothes or something.’
1920s: origin uncertain; perhaps from bunting.
In this article we explore how to impress employers with a spot-on CV.