yellowbilled magpie

yellow-billed magpie


Origin:
1855–60, Americanism

Dictionary.com Unabridged

magpie

[mag-pahy]
noun
1.
either of two corvine birds, Pica pica (black-billed magpie) of Eurasia and North America, or P. nuttalli (yellow-billed magpie) of California, having long, graduated tails, black-and-white plumage, and noisy, mischievous habits.
2.
any of several related corvine birds.
3.
any of several black-and-white birds not related to the true magpies, as Gymnorhina tibicen, of Australia.
4.
an incessantly talkative person; noisy chatterer; chatterbox.
5.
a person who collects or hoards things, especially indiscriminately.
6.
Western U.S. a black-and-white cow or steer, as a Holstein.

Origin:
1595–1605; Mag Margaret + pie2

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
magpie (ˈmæɡˌpaɪ)
 
n
1.  any of various passerine birds of the genus Pica, esp P. pica, having a black-and-white plumage, long tail, and a chattering call: family Corvidae (crows, etc)
2.  See also butcherbird any of various similar birds of the Australian family Cracticidae
3.  any of various other similar or related birds
4.  (often capital) a variety of domestic fancy pigeon typically having black-and-white markings
5.  (Brit) a person who hoards small objects
6.  a person who chatters
7.  a.  the outmost ring but one on a target
 b.  a shot that hits this ring
 
[C17: from Mag diminutive of Margaret, used to signify a chatterbox + pie²]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

magpie
1605, common European bird, known for its chattering, earlier simply pie; first element from Mag, nickname for Margaret, long used in Eng. proverbial and slang senses for qualities associated generally with women, especially in this case "idle chattering" (cf. Magge tales "tall tales, nonsense," c.1410;
also Fr. margot "magpie," from Margot, pet form of Marguerite). Second element, pie, is the earlier name of the bird, from O.Fr. pie, from L. pica "magpie," fem. of picus "woodpecker," possibly from PIE base *pi-, denoting pointedness, of the beak, perhaps, but the magpie also has a long, pointed tail. The birds are proverbial for pilfering and hoarding, can be taught to speak, and have been regarded since the Middle Ages as a bird of ill omen.
"Whan pyes chatter vpon a house it is a sygne of ryghte euyll tydynges." [1507]
Divination by number of magpies is attested from c.1780 in Lincolnshire; the rhyme varies from place to place, the only consistency being that one is bad, two are good.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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