bird

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English[edit]

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 Bird (disambiguation) on Wikipedia

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Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English, from Old English bird, brid, bridd (young bird, chick), of uncertain origin and relation.

Noun[edit]

bird (plural birds)

  1. A member of the class of animals Aves in the phylum Chordata, characterized by being warm-blooded, having feathers and wings usually capable of flight, and laying eggs.
    Ducks and sparrows are birds.
    • 2004, Bruce Whittington, Loucas Raptis, Seasons with Birds, page 50:
      The level below this is called the Phylum; birds belong to the Phylum Chordata, which includes all the vertebrate animals (the sub-phylum Vertebrata) and a few odds and ends.
  2. (dated, slang) A man, fellow. [from the mid-19th c.]
    • 1886, Edmund Routledge, Routledge's every boy's annual
      He once took in his own mother, and was robbed by a 'pal,' who thought he was a doctor. Oh, he's a rare bird is 'Gentleman Joe'!
    • 1939, Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep, Penguin 2011, p. 24:
      The door opened and a tall hungry-looking bird with a cane and a big nose came in neatly, shut the door behind him against the pressure of the door closer, marched over to the desk and placed a wrapped parcel on the desk.
    • 2006, Jeff Fields, Terry Kay, A cry of angels
      "Ah, he's a funny bird," said Phaedra, throwing a leg over the sill.
  3. (UK, US, slang, used by men) A girl or woman, especially one considered sexually attractive.
    • Campbell
      And by my word! the bonny bird / In danger shall not tarry.
    • 2013, Russell Brand, Russell Brand and the GQ awards: 'It's amazing how absurd it seems' (in The Guardian, 13 September 2013)[1]
      The usual visual grammar was in place – a carpet in the street, people in paddocks awaiting a brush with something glamorous, blokes with earpieces, birds in frocks of colliding colours that if sighted in nature would indicate the presence of poison.
  4. (UK, Ireland, slang) Girlfriend. [from the early 20th c.]
    Mike went out with his bird last night.
  5. (slang) An airplane.
  6. (obsolete) A chicken; the young of a fowl; a young eaglet; a nestling.
    • Shakespeare
      That ungentle gull, the cuckoo's bird.
    • Tyndale (Matt. viii. 20)
      The brydds [birds] of the aier have nestes.
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Verb[edit]

bird (third-person singular simple present birds, present participle birding, simple past and past participle birded)

  1. To observe or identify wild birds in their natural environment
  2. To catch or shoot birds.
  3. (figuratively) To seek for game or plunder; to thieve.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Ben Jonson to this entry?)

Etymology 2[edit]

Originally Cockney rhyming slang, shortened from bird-lime for "time"

Noun[edit]

bird (uncountable)

  1. A prison sentence.
    He’s doing bird.
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Etymology 3[edit]

Dated in the mid‐18th Century; derived from the expression “to give the big bird”, as in “to hiss someone like a goose”.

Noun[edit]

the bird (uncountable)

  1. The vulgar hand gesture in which the middle finger is extended.
    • 2002, The Advocate, "Flying fickle finger of faith", page 55.
      For whatever reason — and there are so many to chose from — they flipped the bird in the direction of the tinted windows of the Bushmobile.
    • 2003, James Patterson and Peter De Jonge, The Beach House, Warner Books, page 305,
      Then she raised both hands above her shoulders and flipped him the bird with each one.
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Etymology 4[edit]

From Malay burung (bird / penis).

Noun[edit]

bird (plural birds)

  1. (Asian slang) A penis.
    Don't Touch My Bird.
Translations[edit]

References[edit]

  • bird” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary (2001).

Anagrams[edit]