One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A large long-tailed game bird native to Asia, the male of which typically has very showy plumage.
Family Phasianidae: several genera and many species, in particular the ring-necked pheasant (Phasianus colchicus), which has been widely introduced for shooting
- ‘A large number of people in the Calry area have been pheasant shooting but the number of pheasants that have been shot is well down on other years.’
- ‘The pheasant is a beautiful bird and though not native still has adapted very well to living in the Irish countryside.’
- ‘Burnett says young pheasants are especially vulnerable to buzzard attacks.’
- ‘I watched lapwings competing for nest sites on the damp fields where I also saw pheasants, grey partridges, teal and mallards.’
- ‘Game bird rearers say the demand for pheasants and partridges is rising as more country estate owners and farmers cash in on the boom.’
- ‘Of all our feathered friends pheasants offer the most gorgeous sight to behold, particularly the male ones.’
- ‘Unable to guarantee bags - unlike pheasants, grouse cannot be reared in captivity - income can be patchy.’
- ‘Even the most parvenu journalist is, or should be, taught at his first shoot that grouse and partridges are counted in brace, pheasants singly.’
- ‘I'm a country boy so it was inevitable really that I would start shooting partridge and pheasant.’
- ‘A game shooting organisation has condemned an intensive method of rearing pheasants so that country estates can charge visitors high prices to shoot the birds for sport.’
- ‘You wonder how those ring-necked pheasants got from China all the way to South Dakota.’
- ‘Go for a walk on the land under threat and you will hear larks, pheasants, you'll see deer and at night you'll hear foxes and owls.’
- ‘He claims that pheasant and partridge are neither wild nor natural and are not an alternative to factory farmed meat.’
- ‘Mr Richardson raised more than 33,000 pheasants and organised shoot days during his employment before he was made redundant in 1990.’
- ‘We'd be out in the fields trying to flush pheasants, and flocks of migrating blackbirds would appear.’
- ‘Instead of the turkey, a boiled or roasted chicken (with the brown meat a little underdone) or a brace of stewed or roasted pheasants can be used.’
- ‘Three young hen pheasants on the roadway make me brake suddenly and almost come to a full stop.’
- ‘For close-flushing game like pheasants or quail, you simply took your time when the bird got up.’
- ‘For a decade landowners and gamekeepers have been fighting for licenses to kill birds of prey in order to preserve grouse and pheasants for shooting.’
- ‘He shoots ducks, pheasants, wild boar, and in self-defense he wouldn't hesitate to kill a bear.’
Middle English: from Old French fesan, via Latin from Greek phasianos ‘(bird) of Phasis’, the name of a river in the Caucasus, from which the bird is said to have spread westwards.
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