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[chif-chaf, -chahf] /ˈtʃɪfˌtʃæf, -ˌtʃɑf/
a common, greenish Old World warbler, Phylloscopus collybita.
Origin of chiffchaff
1770-80; gradational compound; imitative Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for chiffchaff
Historical Examples
  • This name, however, is probably equally applicable to the chiffchaff.

  • Only a very few days since—it does not seem a week—there was a chiffchaff calling in a copse as merrily as in the spring.

    Nature Near London Richard Jefferies
  • chiffchaff and willow-wren came as usual, but they did not arrive in a crowd at once.

    Nature Near London Richard Jefferies
  • The first swallow they looked for, and never missed; but they neither heard nor saw the chiffchaff.

    Nature Near London Richard Jefferies
  • Lastly, we have the chiffchaff, certainly the rarest and most local of all.

  • In the north of England, as it is in the south, the chiffchaff is perhaps the most constant pioneer of the spring migrants.

  • The chiffchaff uttered his clear yet rather sad notes on April 26.

    Field and Hedgerow Richard Jefferies
British Dictionary definitions for chiffchaff


a common European warbler, Phylloscopus collybita, with a yellowish-brown plumage
Word Origin
C18: imitative of its call
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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