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bird definition


This page has 15 definitions of bird in English. Bird is a noun and verb. Examples of how to use bird in a sentence are shown. Also define these 0 related words and terms: .

See also: Bird and bírd



Etymology 1

From Middle English brid, from Old English bird, brid, bridd (young bird, chick), of uncertain origin and relation. Gradually replaced fowl as the most common term starting in the 14th century.

The "booing/jeering" and "vulgar hand gesture" senses derived from the expression “to give the big bird”, as in “to hiss someone like a goose”, dated in the mid‐18th Century.


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, having a beaked mouth, 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. (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'!
    • 1926, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Land of Mist[1]:
      "What I mean - I expect that old, red-headed bird at the office sent you round with no other purpose."
    • 1939, Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep, Penguin 2011, page 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. (Britain, US, Australia, slang) A girl or woman, especially one considered sexually attractive.
    • 1809, Thomas Campbell, Lord Ullin's Daughter
      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)[2]
      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.
    • 2017, David Weigel, The Show That Never Ends: The Rise and Fall of Prog Rock, W. W. Norton & Company.
      “All these fantastic birds, long hair, made up, false eyelashes and things, crowding round this group of scabby, spotty teenagers,” marveled Anderson.
  4. (Britain, Ireland, slang) Girlfriend. [from the early 20th c.]
    Mike went out with his bird last night.
    • 2002, Mike Skinner (lyrics), “Geezers need excitement”, in Original Pirate Material, performed by The Streets:
      But all of a sudden though, just through the smoke / It's your bird laughing and joking with a bloke / Ain't just that either, as she moves closer / In a shape what looks like they're lovers, he's tonguing her!
  5. (slang) An airplane.
  6. (slang) A satellite.
    • 1988, Satellite communications. Jan-Oct. 1988
      Deployment of the fourth bird "should ensure that Inmarsat has sufficient capacity in orbit in the early 1990s, taking into account the possibility of launch failures and the age of some of the spacecraft in the Inmarsat first generation system
    • 1992, Cable Vision
      Will a government- backed APSTAR satellite knock out a planned AsiaSat II bird?
    • 2015, John Fuller, Thor's Legions: Weather Support to the U.S. Air Force and Army, 1937-1987, Springer →ISBN, page 384
      In reality, the Air Force was never able to place a bird in orbit that quickly.
  7. (obsolete) A chicken; the young of a fowl; a young eaglet; a nestling.
  8. (Britain, with definite article, especially in expressions such as 'give someone the bird') Booing and jeering, especially as done by an audience expressing displeasure at a performer.
  9. (with definite article) The vulgar hand gesture in which the middle finger is extended.
    Synonym: the finger
    • 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.
  10. A yardbird.
Derived terms

See also


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

  1. (intransitive) To observe or identify wild birds in their natural environment.
  2. (intransitive) To catch or shoot birds.
  3. (intransitive, figuratively) To seek for game or plunder; to thieve.

Etymology 2

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


bird (plural birds)

  1. (slang, uncountable) A prison sentence.
    He’s doing bird.


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

  1. (transitive, slang) To bring into prison, to roof.
    • 2017, ZK & Digga D (lyrics), CDM (music), “No Hook”:
      Free Criminal, he got birded
      That's a L but I know he’ll firm it
      I was vexed when I heard that verdict