One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A small Old World bird related to the weaver birds, typically with brown and grey plumage.
Family Passeridae (or Ploceidae): four genera, in particular Passer, and many species, e.g. the cosmopolitan house sparrow (P. domesticus)
- ‘With a beat of her tiny brown wings, the sparrow was on her way.’
- ‘It was a light gray and it had a large black beak, more like a hawk's than a sparrow's.’
- ‘The branches serve as a handy perch for the sparrows and mourning doves that frequent my city bird feeder.’
- ‘All wild birds (except pigeons, English sparrows and starlings) are protected by federal and state laws, so it's illegal to trap, kill or poison them.’
- ‘Most folks start with a feeder or two and quickly find themselves engrossed with the resident sparrows, finches, and woodpeckers that eagerly accept the offerings.’
- ‘He fed sparrows and grosbeaks on a seed tray mounted on a pole to be visible from his windows.’
- ‘Everything from the modest sparrow to the extravagant scarlet macaw came to perch and settle around her.’
- ‘An injured sparrow or a bird dressed for a dining table distresses her as much as war among nations and nuclear experiments do.’
- ‘Crows and sparrows have been known to attack innocent passers-by who happen to stroll near their nests.’
- ‘Smaller birds such as pigeons, thrushes, jackdaws, robins and sparrows would also have been seen on a regular basis.’
- ‘One sparrow box can house up to 36 baby sparrows in a year.’
- ‘Some landscapes these days have been reduced to nothing but dandelions and fire ants, knapweed and thistle, where the only remaining wildlife are sparrows, squirrels, and starlings.’
- ‘I saw one bird, a tiny sparrow darting through the gnarled pine limbs.’
- ‘Budgies, finches, sparrows and canaries are only a few of the more than one hundred kinds of birds people keep in their apartments.’
- ‘There is nothing to see except blackbirds and sparrows; nothing to hear except the noise of butterflies' wings.’
- ‘Growing up, I was fascinated by birds and my mother encouraged this by letting me feed sparrows on the fire-escape outside our window.’
- ‘While we don't have tall trees, our neighbors do, and the firs and oaks that surround our property drop acorns and provide homes for jays, woodpeckers, robins and sparrows.’
- ‘Game birds, mockingbirds, robins, and sparrows enjoy the juicy, sticky red fruits.’
- ‘Stop sparrows and finches from shredding crocus blossoms by placing foil pinwheels - the kind sold for children's Easter baskets - every few feet among the flowers.’
- ‘A couple of sparrows who had been peacefully resting on the grey rocks abruptly flew off.’
2usually with modifier Any of a number of birds that resemble true sparrows in size or colour.
see hedge sparrow
a waxbill, in particular the Java sparrow.
an American bunting (many genera in the subfamily Emberizinae, family Emberizidae).
Old English spearwa, of Germanic origin.
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