See also: Bird and bírd

English edit

 Bird (disambiguation) on Wikipedia

Pronunciation edit

Etymology 1 edit

From Middle English brid with metathesis, from Old English bridd (chick, baby bird), of uncertain origin and relation; but its stock root is possibly onomatopoeic. 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.

Noun edit

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. (cooking, slang) A chicken or turkey used as food.
    Pitch in and help me stuff the bird if you want Thanksgiving dinner.
  3. (slang) A man, fellow. [from 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'!
    • 1925 July – 1926 May, A[rthur] Conan Doyle, “(please specify the chapter number)”, in The Land of Mist (eBook no. 0601351h.html), Australia: Project Gutenberg Australia, published April 2019:
      "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, published 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.
  4. (UK, Ireland, 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.
    • 1918 [1915], Thomas Burke, Nights in London[1], New York: Henry Holt and Company, page 75:
      After tea, the bright boys wash, clean their boots, and change into their “second-best” attire, and stroll forth [] ; sometimes to saunter, in company with others, up and down that parade until they “click” with one of the “birds.”
    • 2013 September 13, Russell Brand, The Guardian[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.
  5. (UK, Ireland, slang) A girlfriend. [from early 20th c.]
    Mike went out with his bird last night.
    • 2002, “Geezers need excitement”, in Mike Skinner (lyrics), 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!
  6. (slang) An aircraft.
  7. (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.
  8. (obsolete) A chicken; the young of a fowl; a young eaglet; a nestling.
  9. (UK, 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.
  10. (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, 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.
  11. A yardbird.
  12. (slang, US) A kilogram of cocaine.
    Synonyms: chicken, brick
    • 2015 January 12, Lil Wayne (lyrics and music), “Sh!t” (track 2), in Sorry 4 the Wait 2[3]:
      Never dirt on my knees
      I'm just serving these fiends
      Sell birds to the bees
      I sell birds to the trees
  13. (slang, Canada, Philippines) A penis.
    • 2004 May 9, Mike Clattenburg, Mike Smith (actor), 05:29 from the start, in Trailer Park Boys(Conky), season 4, episode 5 (TV series), spoken by Bubbles (Mike Smith):
      BUBBLES: One time I was making a model and I glued the wing to a B17 bomber to my bird by accident.
  14. (UK, slang) Jailtime; time in prison.
Synonyms edit
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  • Esperanto: birdo
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Verb edit

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; to hunt birds.
  3. (intransitive, figuratively) To seek for game or plunder; to thieve.
  4. (transitive, television) To transmit via satellite.
    • 1995, David D. Pearce, Wary Partners: Diplomats and the Media, page 43:
      Unless the TV crew has its own flyaway, the locals can still defeat a story they couldn't prevent reporters from covering by cutting it off at the pass, when it is being birded through their facilities.
    • 2012, Yoel Cohen, Media Diplomacy, page 127:
      After being sent by fast car to Tel Aviv the cassettes would be 'birded' by satellite to the USA and London.

Adjective edit

bird (comparative birdier, superlative birdiest)

  1. (Canada, colloquial, of a school or university course) Able to be passed with very little work; having the nature of a bird course.
    • 2020 October 16, illegalsalt, “Thoughts on these bird courses”, in Reddit[4], r/UTM:
      SOC100 isn’t bird at all lol. But ANT101 is super easy & the prof (Dr. Sherry Fukuzawa) is amazing.
    • 2022 June 17, ConradIsMyDaddy, “How to Graduate from the University of Waterloo's Computer Science Program with the Least Amount of Effort”, in Reddit[5], r/uwaterloo:
      but admittedly, all the hours spent creating excel sheets optimizing my course plan, all the research finding the absolutely best professors, all the smart friends i made, all the alumni i contacted to collect crowdmarks of past exams, all the research i did finding the birdiest courses of all...... all of it was wayyyyyy more fun to me than just sitting down and studying like a normal kid. it was kind of just like playing a video game.

Etymology 2 edit

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

Noun edit

bird (uncountable)

  1. (slang) A prison sentence.
    He’s doing bird.
Synonyms edit
Translations edit

Verb edit

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, “No Hook”, ZK & Digga D (lyrics), CDM (music):
      Free Criminal, he got birded
      That's a L but I know he’ll firm it
      I was vexed when I heard that verdict
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