One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A large New World thrush that typically has a reddish breast.
- ‘Mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus prefer the blood of certain birds to others - in particular the red-breasted American robin, scientists say.’
- ‘The thrushes, a family that includes the American robin and the Eastern bluebird, are known for their vocal skill.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
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.
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
Mid 16th century: from Old French, pet form of the given name Robert.
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