One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A slender fast-running bird of the cuckoo family, found chiefly in arid country from the southern US to Central America.
Genus Geococcyx, family Cuculidae: two species, in particular the (greater) roadrunner (G. californianus)
- ‘In this landscape ringed by red-rock hills that take on a spectacular hue at sunset, small pleasures - fleeting glimpses of roadrunners, stretches of freshly paved road - are unexpectedly gratifying.’
- ‘For years a mated pair of roadrunners lived in the brush on the vacant lot behind the alley.’
- ‘He confirmed that roadrunners did occur in the state and also added Black-throated Green Warbler, bringing the state list to 345 species and varieties.’
- ‘I've stumbled upon quail amidst the redwoods, roadrunners in the Hill Country, and a colony of flamingo in the heart of Hong Kong.’
- ‘In one intriguing trackway, the footfalls of a fringe-toed lizard were paralleled by the prints of a roadrunner, a lizard-eating bird.’
Mid 19th century: probably derived from a transaltion of Spanish correcamino.
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