|1.||any warm-blooded egg-laying vertebrate of the class Aves, characterized by a body covering of feathers and forelimbs modified as wings. Birds vary in size between the ostrich and the humming birdRelated: avian, ornithic|
|2.||informal a person (usually preceded by a qualifying adjective, as in the phrases rare bird, odd bird, clever bird)|
|3.||slang chiefly (Brit) a girl or young woman, esp one's girlfriend|
|4.||slang prison or a term in prison (esp in the phrase do bird; shortened from birdlime, rhyming slang for time)|
|5.||a bird in the hand something definite or certain|
|6.||informal the bird has flown the person in question has fled or escaped|
|7.||euphemistic, jocular or the birds and the bees sex and sexual reproduction|
|8.||birds of a feather people with the same characteristics, ideas, interests, etc|
|9.||informal get the bird|
|a. to be fired or dismissed|
|b. (esp of a public performer) to be hissed at, booed, or derided|
|10.||informal give someone the bird to tell someone rudely to depart; scoff at; hiss|
|11.||kill two birds with one stone to accomplish two things with one action|
|12.||like a bird without resistance or difficulty|
|13.||a little bird a (supposedly) unknown informant: a little bird told me it was your birthday|
|14.||informal for the birds, strictly for the birds deserving of disdain or contempt; not important|
|Related: avian, ornithic|
|[Old English bridd, of unknown origin]|
"A byrde yn honde ys better than three yn the wode." [c.1530]
|bird (bûrd) Pronunciation Key
Any of numerous warm-blooded, egg-laying vertebrate animals of the class Aves. Birds have wings for forelimbs, a body covered with feathers, a hard bill covering the jaw, and a four-chambered heart.
Our Living Language : It is generally believed that birds are descended from dinosaurs and probably evolved from them during the Jurassic Period. While most paleontologists believe that birds evolved from a small dinosaur called the theropod, which in turn evolved from the thecodont, a reptile from the Triassic Period, other paleontologists believe that birds and dinosaurs both evolved from the thecodont. There are some who even consider the bird to be an actual dinosaur. According to this view, the bird is an avian dinosaur, and the older dinosaur a nonavian dinosaur. Although there are variations of thought on the exact evolution of birds, the similarities between birds and dinosaurs are striking and undeniable. Small meat-eating dinosaurs and primitive birds share about twenty characteristics that neither group shares with any other kind of animal; these include tubular bones, the position of the pelvis, the shape of the shoulder blades, a wishbone-shaped collarbone, and the structure of the eggs. Dinosaurs had scales, and birds have modified scales—their feathers—and scaly feet. Some dinosaurs also may have had feathers; a recently discovered fossil of a small dinosaur indicates that it had a featherlike covering. In fact, some primitive fossil birds and small meat-eating dinosaurs are so similar that it is difficult to tell them apart based on their skeletons alone.
Birds are divided in the Mosaic law into two classes, (1) the clean (Lev. 1:14-17; 5:7-10; 14:4-7), which were offered in sacrifice; and (2) the unclean (Lev. 11:13-20). When offered in sacrifice, they were not divided as other victims were (Gen. 15:10). They are mentioned also as an article of food (Deut. 14:11). The art of snaring wild birds is referred to (Ps. 124:7; Prov. 1:17; 7:23; Jer. 5:27). Singing birds are mentioned in Ps. 104:12; Eccl. 12:4. Their timidity is alluded to (Hos. 11:11). The reference in Ps. 84:3 to the swallow and the sparrow may be only a comparison equivalent to, "What her house is to the sparrow, and her nest to the swallow, that thine altars are to my soul."