noun, plural ptarmigans (especially collectively) ptarmigan.
any of several grouses of the genus Lagopus, of mountainous and cold northern regions, having feathered feet.

1590–1600; pseudo-Greek spelling of Scots Gaelic tarmarchan, akin to Irish tarmanach Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To Ptarmigan
World English Dictionary
ptarmigan (ˈtɑːmɪɡən)
n , pl -gans, -gan
1.  any of several arctic and subarctic grouse of the genus Lagopus, esp L. mutus, which has a white winter plumage
2.  (sometimes capital) a created domestic fancy pigeon with ruffled or curled feathers on the wings and back
[C16: changed (perhaps influenced by Greek pteron wing) from Scottish Gaelic tarmachan, diminutive of tarmach, of obscure origin]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

bird of the grouse family, c.1599, from Gael. tarmachan, of unknown origin. The pt- spelling (1684) is a mistaken Gk. construction.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Example sentences
There they foraged for salmon and other fish, ptarmigan and other birds, ground
  squirrels and other small mammals.
Ptarmigan nibble on willow, and gyrfalcons dive for ptarmigan.
More than any other grouse, ptarmigan seem unconcerned about humans.
Hardy ptarmigan remain active at higher elevations through the winter, as do
Copyright © 2014, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature