a. Any of various warm-blooded egg-laying feathered vertebrates of the class Aves, having forelimbs modified to form wings.
b. Such an animal hunted as game.
c. Such an animal, especially a chicken or turkey, used as food: put the bird in the oven.
2. See clay pigeon.
3. Sports See shuttlecock.
4. Slang A rocket, guided missile, satellite, or airplane.
5. Slang A person, especially one who is odd or remarkable: a sly old bird.
6. Chiefly British Slang A young woman.
a. A loud sound expressing disapproval; a raspberry.
b. Discharge from employment: lost a big sale and nearly got the bird.
8. An obscene gesture of anger, defiance, or derision made by pointing or jabbing the middle finger upward.
intr.v. bird·ed, bird·ing, birdsIdiom:
1. To observe and identify birds in their natural surroundings.
2. To trap, shoot, or catch birds.
for the birds
Objectionable or worthless.
[Middle English, from Old English brid, young bird.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.