See also: Magpie


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From Mag, a nickname for Margaret that was used to denote a chatterer, + pie, an archaic word meaning "magpie", from Old French pie, from Latin pīca, from Proto-Indo-European *(s)peyk- (woodpecker, magpie).


  • IPA(key): /ˈmæɡˌpaɪ/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: mag‧pie


magpie (plural magpies)

  1. One of several kinds of bird in the family Corvidae
    1. especially Pica pica.
  2. A superficially similar Australian bird, Gymnorhina tibicen or Cracticus tibicen.
  3. Someone who displays a magpie-like quality such as hoarding or stealing objects.
  4. (slang) A fan or member of Newcastle United F.C.
  5. (military, firearms) The 3rd circle on a target, between the inner and outer.
  6. (Britain, slang, obsolete) A halfpenny.


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Derived termsEdit



magpie (third-person singular simple present magpies, present participle magpieing, simple past and past participle magpied)

  1. (transitive) To mark with patches of black and white or light and dark.
    Synonym: mottle
    • 1914, Oliver Onions, Mushroom Town, New York: George H. Doran, Part 4, Chapter 3, pp. 292-293,[1]
      The little rail-enclosed plots that lay between the pavements and the hotels were magpied with torn paper []
    • 1952, Michael McLaverty, Truth in the Night, Dublin: Poolbeg, 1986, Chapter 15, p. 179,[2]
      [] she stood at the window and saw the lake blue with spring and a few patches of snow that magpied the hills.
    • 1963, Alan Garner, The Moon of Gomrath, New York: Collins, 1979, Chapter 8, p. 64,[3]
      [] they looked down upon Highmost Redmanhey, timber and plaster magpied by the moon, and a lamp in the window of the room where Susan lay.
    • 1979, Jack S. Scott, A Clutch of Vipers, New York: Harper & Row, Chapter 6, p. 76,[4]
      [] young Inspector Cruse arrived at the Dun Cow, entering through a door tricked out as Tudor and set into a façade magpied with white paint and nailed-on beams []
  2. (transitive, intransitive) To steal or hoard (items) as magpies are believed to do.
    • 1924, Ford Madox Ford, Some Do Not ..., Part 2, Chapter 1,[5]
      [] she liked to be able to have a picturesque fact or two with which to support herself when she too, to hold attention, wanted to issue moving statements as to revolutions, anarchies and strife in the offing. And she had noticed that when she magpied Tietjens’ conversations more serious men in responsible positions were apt to argue with her and to pay her more attention than before....
    • 1999, Peter Straub, Mr. X, New York: Random House, Chapter 131, p. 469,[6]
      “I had to borrow those photographs Aunt Nettie was storing in her closet.”
      “Isn’t that interesting?” May said. “I have to say, I never did understand why Mrs. Hatch asked me to magpie them out of the library.”
    • 2012, Alice Hart, Friends at My Table, London: Quadrille, p. 175,[7]
      I have magpied from here and there, borrowing influences from Morocco, Greece, Italy and my notebooks to end up with a handful of easy little dishes that complement each other.
  3. (intransitive) To talk idly; to talk about other people's private business.
    Synonyms: chatter, gossip
    • 1978, Jean Rikhoff, Where Were You in ’76? New York: Richard Marek Publishers, Book 1, Chapter 2, p. 28,[8]
      He knew how people were magpieing with their malicious chatter that she had committed the cardinal sin of believing love was permanent []