jenny wren

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jenny wren (plural jenny wrens)

  1. (Britain) The wren, Troglodytes troglodytes, especially as considered (in nursery-rhymes etc.) as the wife or sweetheart of robin redbreast.
    • 1955, Robin Jenkins, The Cone-Gatherers, Canongate 2012, p. 75:
      There would have been no one to superintend him, except a squirrel perhaps or a jenny wren, at which he might have winked.
  2. (Australia) a female blue wren, or a male blue wren in non-breeding plumage.
    • 1917, Henry Handel Richardson, chapter 6, in Australia Felix, page 115:
      But Rogers had married beneath him, and the sight of the pursy upstart [...] sitting there, in satin and feathers, lording it over his own little Jenny Wren, was more than Mahony could tolerate.
    • 1975, Malcolm McNaughton, Australian Birdlife Illustrated, page 50:
      Female Superb Blue Wrens lack the bold pattern and colour of the male. They are often referred to by the common name of "Jenny-wren".