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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.]
an animal with a tongue like that of man, as the parrot.
the killing of birds.
the raising or keeping of birds. — aviculturist, n.
Rare. the study of birds’ nests.
a structure for keeping doves or pigeons; a dovecote or pigeon loft. Also columbarium.
the practice of training and hunting with falcons or hawks.
the breeding place of a colony of herons.
the study of young birds.
the process or instinct of nest-building.
the study of birds’ nests. — nidologist, n.
a device for reproducing the outline of a bird’s egg.
the branch of ornithology that collects and studies birds’ eggs. — oologist, n. — oologic, oological, adj.
a device for measuring eggs.
observation of the development of an embryo inside an egg by means of an ooscope.
the branch of zoology that studies birds. — ornithologist, n. — ornithologie, ornithological, adj.
the observation of birds, especially in flight, for the purpose of divination.
an abnormal love of birds.
an abnormal fear of birds.
psittacosis, partieularly in birds other than those of the parrot family.
the anatomy of birds. — ornithotomist, n. — ornithotomical, adj.
Rare. the raising and training of pigeons.
domestic fowl, particularly those raised for food or laying eggs.
a disease of parrots and other birds communicable to human beings. — psittacotic, adj.
an abnormal fear of feathers.
the branch of ornithology that studies the areas upon which birds grow feathers. Also pterylography.
a breeding or nesting place of rooks or of any gregarious bird or animal.
the state of having all four toes fully webbed, as water birds. — totipalmate, adj.
a condition of some animals, and especially of some fowls, in which the female, when old, assumes some of the characteristics of the male of the species. — virilescent, adj.
flight, the act of flying, or the ability to fly.
- Bird, its little black feet tucked under its belly like miniature bombs —Peter Meinke
- Birds afloat, like a scarf —Babette Deutsch
- Birds … bobbed like clothespins on the telephone line —Elizabeth Savage
- Birds … circling like black leaves —Hugh Walpole
- Birds flew up like black gloves jerked from a line —Paul Theroux
- Birds … gliding like pieces of dark paper abandoned suddenly by an erratic wind —John Rechy
- Bird, shaped like the insides of a yawning mouth —Charles Simic
- Birds in flight, fluid as music on a page —Anne Morrow Lindbergh
- Birds … like planes stacked up over the airport, circling until they get a permission-to-land signal —Italo Calvino
- Bird songs rang in the air like dropped coins —George Garrett
- Birds rose into the air like blown leaves (at his approach) —Margaret Millar
- The birds sang as if every sparkling drop were a fountain of inspiration to them —Charles Dickens
- Birds … they roll like a drunken fingerprint across the sky —Richard Wilbur
- (Birds) twitter louder than a flute —Phyllis McGinley
- Birds … white as scraps of paper —Willa Cather
See Also: WHITE
- Crows whirled lazily in the sky like flakes of black ash rising from a fire —Guy Vanderhaeghe
- A dove … glistening like a pearl —Hans Christian Andersen
- The eagles were reveling in the air like bank robbers who had broken into the vault —Edward Hoagland
- A flight of egrets … flying low, and scattered … like a ripple of white notes, sweet and pure and springlike, which an unseen hand drew forth, like a divine arpeggio, from an unseen harp —W. Somerset Maugham
See Also: MUSIC
- A flock of white swans flew like a long white veil over the water —Hans Christian Andersen
- The fluttering, honking formation of birds was like a ship borne by the wind into the high invisible distance —Bernard Malamud
- Geese … blackening the sky like a shake of pepper —Diane Ackerman
- Gulls cry like hurt children —George Garrett
- Gulls … settling and stirring like blown paper —Sylvia Plath
- A handful of thrushes set down in an oak tree, like a flurry of leaves —Linda Bierds
This simile marks the closing of Bierds’ poem, Mid-Plains Tornado.
- (That great) hawk circling like a black planet —Ellen Gilchrist
- Hens … like dowager women, plump and impeccably arrayed in brown and grey —Rolf Yngve
- His wings [Jonathan Livingston Seagull’s] were smooth and perfect as sheets of polished silver —Richard Bach
- Hummingbird … with a beak that looked as long as a darning needle and about as sharp —A. E. Maxwell
- A jaybird … flying in a feathered flash of blue and white like a swift piece of the sky —George Garrett
- The parrots shriek as if they were on fire —Ted Hughes
In a poem entitled The Jaguar, the parrots not only shriek but “Strut like cheap tarts to attract the stroller with the nut.”
See Also: SCREAMS
- The pigeons lolloped from illusory pediment to window-ledge like volatile, feathered madmen, chattering vile rhymes and laughing in hoarse, throaty voices —Angela Carter
- Pigeons … settled into trees that shone with them like soft blue and gray fruit —Marge Piercy
- Pigeons … with spreading wings like falling snow —Émile Zola
- Soared high above the other birds, climbing like a dart —R. Wright Campbell
- A solid line of pelicans flew … in graceful unison like a crew of oarsman in a racing shell —George Garrett
- Sparrows scatter like handfuls of gravel —William H. Gass
- Storks and pelicans flew in a line like waving ribbons —Hans Christian Andersen
- Swans floated about like white lanterns —Lawrence Durrell
- Swans go by like a snowy procession of Popes —George Garrett
- Terns rise like seafoam from the breaking surf —Robert Hass
- White gulls … in such close formation they were like a cloud —Phyllis Roberts