One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A finch or related songbird with a stout conical bill and typically brightly colored plumage.
- ‘So far, tantalizing reports of red and white-winged crossbills and pine grosbeaks remain just that: tantalizing, meaning just out of reach.’
- ‘Finches, grosbeaks, titmice, nuthatches, sparrows, and cardinals will beat a path to your door.’
- ‘We investigated the signaling function of blue plumage in male blue grosbeaks to determine if structurally based coloration may act as a reliable signal of quality to conspecifics.’
- ‘Songbirds like warblers, orioles, tanagers, grosbeaks, and sparrows are far from the only birds that display dimorphism.’
- ‘She's had the best luck attracting seed-feeding birds, such as finches, grosbeaks, jays and nuthatches, by using common black oil sunflower seeds.’
Late 17th century: from French grosbec, from gros ‘big, fat’ + bec ‘beak’.
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