Definition of bird in English:



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

    • ‘It requires no special morphological adaptations, although it is most effective in birds with low wing loading.’
    • ‘Youngsters were able to stroke the birds ' feathers.’
    • ‘Bounding and undulating flight are distinguished by the way the bird uses its wings during the resting phase.’
    • ‘With a three-foot wingspan and two long, streaming tail feathers, these birds are easy to recognize.’
    • ‘Marine mammals and large flying birds are the animals most likely to be able to benefit from foraging over very large distances.’
    • ‘Instead, the birds strike with their beaks and hook their fresh meat on thorns or barbed wire.’
    • ‘When on the water, a sleeping bird will tuck its bill under its wing; on land birds may stand on one leg.’
    • ‘The black back of the bird separated the two wings from each other.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Occasionally, a bird fluffs feathers and wings in a short flight, before returning to the field of perpetual avian motion.’
    • ‘A bird needs wings for lift, tail feathers for control and lightweight bones.’
    • ‘On the fringes of the bay, fragile marshes and winding waterways are teeming with birds and wildlife.’
    • ‘Such cases of female competition and aggression have been noted in many birds and other vertebrates.’
    • ‘Hence, the possession of feathers is unique to birds and defines all members of the class Aves.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Note the curled feathers on the wings, which become more prominent when the bird raises its wings during threat display’
    • ‘They measure the bills and the wings, take the birds ' weights and label a leg of each with a colored marker.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Whether the flightless birds used their beaks to impale or bludgeon their prey is unknown, Chiappe says.’
    1. 1.1 A bird that is hunted for sport or used for food.
      ‘carve the bird at the dinner table’
      • ‘When skeet shooting or bird hunting, those that ride high on the nose are preferred since you are shooting at objects moving upwards.’
      • ‘The fact that the villages needed to trap birds probably meant that food was in short supply.’
      • ‘Some people living near the husbandry have ignored warnings from the local administration and have stolen birds for food.’
      • ‘Moisten the top of the bird with olive oil and then season with thyme, rosemary, oregano, salt, pepper and a few pinches of cayenne.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘At the same time it brought the birds closer to sport hunters living in southern California cities.’
      • ‘Remove the birds and carve down one side of the breast bone, snipping the bird in half.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘There were also clan-specific food taboos on particular birds and wild animals.’
      • ‘The upland stamp would be required of those hunting doves, quail, pheasants and other upland birds.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The European Commission yesterday ordered a ban on all imports of birds and feathers from Turkey amid new fears over avian influenza.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The farmer, seeing the birds he raised for food being killed, tried to persuade the hunter to stop.’
    2. 1.2North American informal An aircraft, spacecraft, satellite, or guided missile.
      ‘the crews worked frantically to ready their birds for flight’
      • ‘The insurance on the plane was almost prohibitive and finding an airport and hangar for the bird was even more so.’
      • ‘We need better human intelligence and not just to rely on satellites and birds in the sky.’
      • ‘I didn't do a full restoration but had the bird cleaned up and detailed out.’
      • ‘Within 90 minutes, he had the bird repaired and continued his trip south.’
      • ‘Now almost all the new birds entering the fleet have some form of pilot and passenger entertainment system.’
      • ‘After testing in 2004, the Air Force would like to buy six more ABLs and modify the test bird into an operational aircraft.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I always like to relive those days spent flying the MATS version of it all over the world - a great bird.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The plane is a C130 Gunship, a classic old bird modified for special ops.’
      • ‘While there's a finite number of under- $60,000 airplanes, among them are some great budget birds.’
      • ‘When the Viper loses its engine, the whole bird usually goes with it.’
      • ‘Now he's the dedicated crew chief for the 23rd Bomb Squadron commander's bird, the Bomber Baron.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Many of these birds are lovingly restored, bespeaking the inordinate affections heaped upon them by proud owners.’
      aircraft, craft, flying machine
      View synonyms
  • 2informal usually with adjective A person of a specified kind or character.

    ‘I'm a pretty tough old bird’
    • ‘So I asked a wise old bird, ‘Sir, do you know any tricks to get this light to go out?’’
    • ‘We had done everything to breathe life into the old bird.’
    • ‘She's a strong old bird, but I don't think she'll recover from this one.’
    • ‘Maybe the old bird that called it in wasn't wearing her glasses.’
    • ‘He remained a tough old bird, long after he left the army.’
    • ‘If you flipped through the channels fast enough, it looked like the old bird had finally made up with Diana.’
    • ‘Will that wily old bird be proved right in the next few months?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Why make a film about a posh old bird and an emporium of entertainment?’
    • ‘Every so often, in between weathercasts predicting temperatures in the 90s, they wheel out this wizened old bird.’
    • ‘But the worst was an old bird who shouted at me about the poll tax and blamed me for Black Wednesday.’
    • ‘But when in Rome London, might as well embrace the moment and see what the old bird has to offer.’
    • ‘He's a tough old bird who has seen a lot of hard times.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The champion is a wily old bird however and Arthur was unable to press home his advantage.’
    • ‘To quote the old bird herself, we are not amused.’
    • ‘It seems there's still life left in the old bird after all.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Yet England will remain unbroken, staunch old bird that she is, accustomed to the IRA and the blitz of the Second World War.’
  • 3British informal A young woman or a girlfriend.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I had a friend who worked abroad minus his wife and ran off with a younger bird.’
    lady, girl, member of the fair sex, member of the gentle sex, female
    girlfriend, girl, sweetheart, partner, significant other, inamorata, fiancée
    View synonyms


  • 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 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 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.’
      • ‘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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In a possible offer situation for a troubled company, a bird in the hand is certainly worth more than two in the bush.’
  • the birds and the bees

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

      • ‘My parents still haven't told me about the birds and the bees!’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘‘My father never told me about the birds and the bees,’ it goes.’
      the facts of life, sexual reproduction, reproduction
      View synonyms
  • 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 were birds of a feather’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘It seems to me - I do not know - that birds of a feather flock together.’
      • ‘The bottom line is that birds of a feather flock together.’
      • ‘It's more of a case of birds of a feather flock together - people tend to gravitate to other people who are like themselves.’
      • ‘Do opposites attract or do birds of a feather flock together?’
  • flip someone the bird (or flip the bird)

    • informal Stick one's middle finger up at someone as a sign of contempt or anger, meaning 'fuck you'

      Compare with give someone the finger in finger
      • ‘Dustin tried to flick him a thumbs-up sign, however, out of nervousness he flipped him the bird instead, accidentally, of course.’
      • ‘He sticks his hand out the window and flips me the bird.’
      • ‘She stuck her arm behind her back and flipped me the bird.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Alya was about to flip him the bird, but changed her mind and stuck out her tongue instead.’
  • (strictly) for the birds

    • informal Not worth consideration; unimportant.

      ‘this piece of legislation is for the birds’
      • ‘When I was 10, I told my father that this annual migration to the south was strictly for the birds.’
      • ‘As for capital gains tax on main residences as well as second homes, that 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.’
      • ‘Leaving the telly on is strictly for the birds…’
      • ‘Purity is for the birds, as Rand would say, yet not adhere to.’
  • 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.’
      • ‘I have an aversion to sites which literally give you the bird on the front page, so I didn't linger.’
      • ‘A guy misses a match - for his own reasons no doubt, that is not a justification to give him the bird.’
    • 2informal Stick one's middle finger up at someone as a sign of contempt or anger.

      ‘he gave his bench the bird, saluted and left the game’
      • ‘I smiled to myself as I watched her start spluttering and yelling after the car and giving him 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”.’
      • ‘Residents and shoppers in Rayleigh have been given the bird after council plans to try and deter pigeons from the town centre were abandoned.’
      • ‘Ever since I graduated, in 1977, people have never tired of giving me the bird.’
      • ‘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.’
  • have a bird

    • informal Be very shocked or agitated.

      ‘I would have a bird if my kids did this’
      • ‘But the critic from The Province came with his wife and had 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?’’
      • ‘"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."’
  • a little bird told me

    • humorous Used to say that the speaker knows something but prefers to keep the identity of the informant a secret.

      ‘a little bird told me it was your birthday’
      • ‘Hmmm… a little bird told me this morning that Ms. Hayward has a brand new boyfriend.’
      • ‘I was about to convince myself that people were finally losing interest in the story, when a little bird told me to keep going.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Well - a little bird told me that you might have an interest in ships nowadays.’
  • eat like a bird

    • informal Eat very little.

      • ‘I'm a rather big girl, which means I don't exactly eat like a bird.’
      • ‘Children wont starve themselves, and after a few days my daughter was eating like a horse.’
      • ‘Despite eating like a horse recently my weight has continued to plummet.’
      • ‘Jack is a great footballer and he eats like a horse.’
      • ‘He wasn't into real sports, but was on the cross country and track teams, which pretty much explained why he was as skinny as stringed beans, even though he ate like a horse.’
      • ‘Sometimes you can't get him to eat a thing, and then at other times he eats like a horse!’
      • ‘I can't stress enough that you don't have to starve yourself or eat like a bird to build a great body.’
      • ‘Originally, she had dieted all the way down to 137 pounds - without doing any exercise - but she found she had to eat like a bird to keep herself at that weight.’
      • ‘She's been here for three months and she's fine… she eats like a horse… and she loves me.’
      • ‘Of course, let's not jump to any distorted conclusion about Sarah's chowing patterns; I imagine Freddie probably eats like a bird, don't you think?’
    • informal

      see eat
  • kill two birds with one stone

    • proverb Achieve two aims at once.

      • ‘Bringing employees up through the ranks kills two birds with one stone: It fills an opening with a proven performer and it provides good employees with a career path - and one more reason to stay.’
      • ‘An innovative program is attempting to kill two birds with one stone - help improve the traffic management in the city and integrate the disabled into society.’
      • ‘Since this dovetails neatly with the office Christmas party, well, I figure killing two birds with one stone would do the job nicely.’
      • ‘For the polling station at Great Langton, near Northallerton, was in the bar of the village pub, offering ample opportunity for killing two birds with one stone.’
      • ‘We have killed two birds with one stone by renting them; we get money and we indirectly advertise our bank to the department store's customers.’
      • ‘If you haven't finished picking your currants yet, kill two birds with one stone by pruning them first.’
      • ‘His father-in-law had been trying unsuccessfully to sell a dilapidated house in Ilkley and the couple decided to buy it for themselves, killing two birds with one stone.’
      • ‘I like multi-tasking, killing two birds with one stone.’
      • ‘Yesterday when I left work with the dog I thought I will walk through the green, killing two birds with one stone.’
      • ‘This would have killed two birds with one stone, combining a focusless programme looking for a theme with an ill-defined product looking for an identity.’


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