c.1300, from O.N.Fr. werbler
"to sing with trills and quavers," from Frank. *werbilon
(cf. O.H.G. wirbil
"whirlwind," Ger. Wirbel
"whirl, whirlpool, tuning peg, vertebra," M.Du. wervelen
"to turn, whirl"); see whirl
. The noun meaning "tune, melody" is recorded from c.1300. Warbler
applied to Old World songbirds (1773), in North America to birds that look like them but sing little (1783).