Definition of


  1. (noun, animal) warm-blooded egg-laying vertebrates characterized by feathers and forelimbs modified as wings
  2. (noun, food) the flesh of a bird or fowl (wild or domestic) used as food
  3. (noun, person) informal terms for a (young) woman
  4. (noun, communication) a cry or noise made to express displeasure or contempt
  5. (noun, artifact) badminton equipment consisting of a ball of cork or rubber with a crown of feathers
  6. (verb, competition) watch and study birds in their natural habitat

via WordNet, Princeton University

Origin of the word Bird

  1. O.E. bridd, originally "young bird" (the usual O.E. for "bird" being fugol), of uncertain origin with no cognates in any other Germanic language. The suggestion that it is related by umlaut to brood and breed is rejected by OED as "quite inadmissible." Metathesis of -r- and -i- occurred 15c. Figurative sense of "secret source of informa… more
  2. "middle finger held up in a rude gesture," slang derived from 1860s expression give the big bird "to hiss someone like a goose," kept alive in vaudeville slang with sense of "to greet someone with boos, hisses, and catcalls" (1922), transferred 1960s to the "up yours" hand gesture (the rigid finger representing the hypothetical object to be inserted) on notion of defianc… more
  3. "maiden, young girl," c.1300, confused with burd (q.v.), but felt by later writers as a figurative use of bird (1). Modern slang meaning "young woman" is from 1915, and probably arose independently of the older word. more

via Online Etymology Dictionary, ©2001 Douglas Harper

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