One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A large New World thrush that typically has a reddish breast.
genus Turdus, subfamily Turdinae, family Muscicapidae, in particular the American robin (T. migratorius)
- ‘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.’
- ‘Mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus prefer the blood of certain birds to others - in particular the red-breasted American robin, scientists say.’
- ‘The beloved American robin, not the annoying, raucous crow, may be the more potent source for West Nile virus, according to new research.’
- ‘Hester and Fanny have filled our old bird feeder and have had so much fun watching the robins and the cardinals come and eat the seeds that they put inside.’
- ‘The thrushes, a family that includes the American robin and the Eastern bluebird, are known for their vocal skill.’
2Any of a number of other birds that resemble the American robin, especially in having a red breast, in particular a small Old World thrush related to the chats, typically having a brown back with red on the breast or other colorful markings.
Erithacus and other genera, subfamily Turdinae, family Muscicapidae: numerous species, in particular the European robin (E. rubecula)
- ‘In their study, the researchers compared two species of night-migratory songbirds - garden warblers and European robins - with two non-migratory songbirds - zebra finches and canaries.’
- ‘As dawn breaks on a misty Welsh morning, the earliest birds to break into song are likely to include European robins, followed by blackbirds and song thrushes.’
- ‘I'm told catnip keeps birds away from strawberries, and having lost most of mine to robins this year I'm going to try it.’
- ‘Migrating from northern Europe to the Iberian Peninsula's cork forests are blackcaps, finches, robins, and song thrushes.’
- ‘It worked, but only up to a point, for this year's bumper crop has been almost entirely eaten by a family of robins.’
Mid 16th century: from Old French, pet form of the given name Robert.
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