whydah

whydah

[hwid-uh, wid-uh]
noun
1.
any of several small African finches of the subfamily Viduinae, the males of which have elongated, drooping tail feathers during the breeding season.
2.
any of several African weaverbirds of the genus Euplectes, the males of which have similar long tails.
Also, whidah.
Also called widow bird.


Origin:
1775–85; alteration of widow (bird) to make name agree with that of a town in Benin, West Africa, one of its haunts

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World English Dictionary
whydah or whidah (ˈwɪdə)
 
n
whydah bird, whidah bird, Also called: widow bird any of various predominantly black African weaverbirds of the genus Vidua and related genera, the males of which grow very long tail feathers in the breeding season
 
[C18: after the name of a town in Benin]
 
whidah or whidah
 
n
 
[C18: after the name of a town in Benin]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

whydah

town, southern Benin, West Africa. It lies along the Gulf of Guinea. The town was the main port of the Kingdom of Abomey in the 18th and 19th centuries. Portuguese, French, Dutch, Danish, British, and Americans all vied for a share of the slave and palm-oil trade made available through Ouidah by the efficiently organized and centralized kingdom. In 1893 the area came under French control. Some of the old forts, a cathedral, and a temple of the Abomey traditional religion remain. Coconut, palm, and coffee are grown in the area. Ouidah is connected by road and railway to Cotonou, 20 miles (32 km) east, the major port and commercial centre of Benin. Pop. (2002) 37,647.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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