• synonyms


[boo l-finch]
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  1. a European finch, Pyrrhula pyrrhula, often kept as a pet, the male of which has a black, white, and bluish-gray back and a rosy breast.
  2. any of several related or similar birds.

Origin of bullfinch1

1560–70; bull1 (perhaps in sense “bull-necked”) + finch


[boo l-finch]
  1. a hedge high enough to impede mounted hunters.

Origin of bullfinch2

First recorded in 1825–35; of uncertain origin
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for bullfinch

Historical Examples

  • He ‘seemed to remember,’ Bullfinch said, that he had dined well there.

    The Uncommercial Traveller

    Charles Dickens

  • OW curious is the structure of the nest of the Bullfinch or Chaffinch!

  • The Alpe, or bullfinch, mentioned in the above lines, also survives as a surname.

    The Romance of Names

    Ernest Weekley

  • "I think it will be well for us to follow his advice," said Judge Bullfinch, after a pause.

    Policeman Bluejay

    L. Frank Baum

  • "I didn't buy that at an auction, it was in the family," said Mr. Bullfinch.

    Jerry's Charge Account

    Hazel Hutchins Wilson

British Dictionary definitions for bullfinch


  1. a common European finch, Pyrrhula pyrrhula : the male has a bright red throat and breast, black crown, wings, and tail, and a grey-and-white back
  2. any of various similar finches

Word Origin

C14: see bull 1, finch; probably so called from its stocky shape and thick neck


  1. British a high thick hedge too difficult for a horse and rider to jump

Word Origin

C19: perhaps changed from the phrase bull fence
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

Word Origin and History for bullfinch


1560s, from bull (n.1) + finch; supposedly so called for the shape of its head and neck; cf. French bouvreuil.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper