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[yel-oh-ham-er] /ˈyɛl oʊˌhæm ər/
a common European bunting, Emberiza citrinella, the male of which is marked with bright yellow.
Chiefly Southern U.S. a flicker, Colaptes auratus, having yellow wing and tail linings.
Origin of yellowhammer
1550-60; earlier also yelamber, yelambre, probably continuing Old English *geolu-amore, equivalent to geolu yellow + amore presumably, the bunting (cognate with Old Saxon amer, Old High German amaro; see emberizine); forms with -h- perhaps reflect blending with another etymon, later conformed to hammer (compare dial. yellowham) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for yellowhammer
Historical Examples
  • yellowhammer was made up of men who took off their hats to a smiling loser; so they invited Cherokee to say what he wanted.

  • I fear the yellowhammer will not long remain in such a pandemonium.

    Birds in London W. H. Hudson
  • The yellowhammer is almost the longest of all the singers; he sits and sits and has no inclination to move.

    The Pageant of Summer Richard Jefferies
  • The unblessed condition of yellowhammer had been truly described.

  • The name of the father of yellowhammer was given him by the gold hunters in accordance with their popular system of nomenclature.

  • A yellowhammer has just flown from a bare branch in the gateway, where he has been perched and singing a full hour.

    The Pageant of Summer Richard Jefferies
  • They are about the size of the yellowhammer, six inches and a half in length, of which the tail measures two.

  • Many citizens escorted him to the undefined limits of yellowhammer and bestowed upon him shouts of commendation and farewells.

  • Never afterward did he turn up enough dust in yellowhammer to pay his bar bill.

  • On the twentieth day of December Baldy, the mail rider, brought yellowhammer a piece of news.

British Dictionary definitions for yellowhammer


a European bunting, Emberiza citrinella, having a yellowish head and body and brown streaked wings and tail
(US & Canadian) the yellow-shafted flicker, an American woodpecker See flicker2
Word Origin
C16: of uncertain origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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