- any of several grouses of the genus Lagopus, of mountainous and cold northern regions, having feathered feet.
Origin of ptarmigan
1590–1600; pseudo-Greek spelling of Scots Gaelic tarmarchan, akin to Irish tarmanach
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for ptarmigan
He knew clearly what was to be done, and this he did by promptly eating the ptarmigan.White Fang
Could not a single gull or ptarmigan find a resting-place there?
Among birds, the ptarmigan is a fine example of protective colouring.
Around us we saw plenty of ptarmigan tracks, but no signs of foxes.A Woman who went to Alaska
May Kellogg Sullivan
That is what grown-up foxes do to the Ptarmigan folks when they get a chance.Little White Fox and his Arctic Friends
Roy J. Snell
- any of several arctic and subarctic grouse of the genus Lagopus, esp L. mutus, which has a white winter plumage
- (sometimes capital) a created domestic fancy pigeon with ruffled or curled feathers on the wings and back
C16: changed (perhaps influenced by Greek pteron wing) from Scottish Gaelic tarmachan, diminutive of tarmach, of obscure 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
Word Origin and History for ptarmigan
bird of the grouse family, 1590s, from Gaelic tarmachan, of unknown origin. The pt- spelling (1680s) is a mistaken Greek construction (perhaps based on pteron "wing").
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper