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blackbird

[blak-burd] /ˈblækˌbɜrd/
noun
1.
a common European thrush, Turdus merula, the male of which is black with a yellow bill.
2.
any of several American birds of the family Icteridae, having black plumage.
3.
any of several other unrelated birds having black plumage in either or both sexes.
4.
(formerly) a person, especially a Kanaka, who was kidnapped and sold abroad, usually in Australia, as a slave.
verb (used with object)
5.
to kidnap (a person), as in blackbirding.
verb (used without object)
6.
to engage in blackbirding.
Origin
1480-1490
1480-90; earlier blacke bride. See black, bird
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for blackbird
  • He missed two jays and a blackbird, but caught a beautiful cardinal by its leg.
  • blackbird depredations in animal industry: feedlots.
  • This blackbird was seemingly not quite straight and had a yaw at supersonic speeds.
British Dictionary definitions for blackbird

blackbird

/ˈblækˌbɜːd/
noun
1.
a common European thrush, Turdus merula, in which the male has a black plumage and yellow bill and the female is brown
2.
any of various American orioles having a dark plumage, esp any of the genus Agelaius
3.
(history) a person, esp a South Sea Islander, who was kidnapped and sold as a slave, esp in Australia
verb
4.
(transitive) (formerly) to kidnap and sell into slavery
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for blackbird
n.

late 15c. (late 13c. as a surname), from black (adj.) + bird (n.1). OED says so called for being the only "black" (really dark brown) bird among the songbirds, reflecting an older sense of bird that did not include rooks, crows, ravens.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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