nutcracker

[nuht-krak-er]
noun
1.
an instrument or device for cracking the shells of nuts.
2.
any of several corvine birds of the genus Nucifraga that feed on nuts, as the common nutcracker, N. caryocatactes, of Europe and Clark's nutcracker, N. columbiana, of the western U.S.

Origin:
1540–50; nut + cracker

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World English Dictionary
nutcracker (ˈnʌtˌkrækə)
 
n
1.  (often plural) a device for cracking the shells of nuts
2.  either of two birds, Nucifraga caryocatactes of the Old World or N. columbianus (Clark's nutcracker) of North America, having speckled plumage and feeding on nuts, seeds, etc: family Corvidae (crows)

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

nutcracker

either of two sharp-billed, short-tailed birds belonging to the family Corvidae (q.v.; order Passeriformes), found in coniferous forests. The Eurasian nutcracker (Nucifraga caryocatactes) ranges from Scandinavia to Japan and has isolated populations in mountains farther south. It is 32 centimetres (12 12 inches) long and brownish, with white streaking and white tail tip. Clark's nutcracker (N. columbiana) of western North America is pale gray, with black wings and tail, showing white patches in flight. Both species live chiefly on seeds and nuts, which they often store underground for winter use.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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