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[jak-daw] /ˈdʒækˌdɔ/
a glossy, black, European bird, Corvus monedula, of the crow family, that nests in towers, ruins, etc.
Origin of jackdaw
1535-45; jack1 + daw Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for jackdaw
Historical Examples
  • Then the jackdaw nodded, and hopping down from the stool on which he sat, walked softly over to the door.

  • He was fond of his jackdaw, but then he had other pets, and the doctor was so lonely.

  • “Well, come now,” said jackdaw, pulling her by one arm while Peterkin secured the other.

    The School Queens L. T. Meade
  • He at once clipped the jackdaw's wings, and taking him home at night, gave him to his children.

  • It is a curious coincidence that the obsolete chuet or chewet meant both a round pie and a jackdaw.

  • A jackdaw, who sat upon an elm, and beheld his exploit, resolved to imitate it.

  • On seeing the jackdaw she made a low bow, and in a shrill eager voice invited them in.

  • The same account said that they could be taught to speak like a jackdaw.

    Live Toys Emma Davenport
  • The jackdaw flies outside the village and perches on the roof of a cottage.

    The Inferno August Strindberg
  • To his surprise there was the fluttering of wings, and a jackdaw flew out and away.

    Yule Logs Various
British Dictionary definitions for jackdaw


a large common Eurasian passerine bird, Corvus monedula, in which the plumage is black and dark grey: noted for its thieving habits: family Corvidae (crows)
Word Origin
C16: from jack1 + daw
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 jackdaw

1540s, the common name of the daw (Corvus monedula), "which frequents church towers, old buildings, etc.; noted for its loquacity and thievish propensities" [OED]. See jack (n.) + daw.

In modern times, parrots are almost the only birds that have the gift of speech, though connoisseurs are not ignorant that starlings and jackdaws have good abilities in that way, when properly educated. ["Chambers' Home Book and Pocket Miscellany," 1853]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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