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[ket-sahl] /kɛtˈsɑl/
noun, plural quetzals, quetzales
[ket-sah-leys] /kɛtˈsɑ leɪs/ (Show IPA)
any of several large Central and South American trogons of the genus Pharomachrus, having golden-green and scarlet plumage, especially P. mocino (resplendent quetzal) the national bird of Guatemala: rare and possibly endangered.
a paper money and monetary unit of Guatemala, equal to 100 centavos.
Abbreviation: Q.
Also, quezal
[ke-sahl] /kɛˈsɑl/ (Show IPA)
Origin of quetzal
1820-30; < American Spanish < Nahuatl quetzalli plumage of the quetzal bird Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for quetzal
Historical Examples
  • The lion and the tiger roared, and the first bird that sang was the quetzal.

    The Stories of El Dorado

    Frona Eunice Wait
  • Would you have me believe all this from quetzal, show me something that is to come.

    The Fair God Lew Wallace
  • The revelation of Mualox was prophecy here confirmed,—quetzal was coming!

    The Fair God Lew Wallace
  • If quetzal was the pabas idol in religion, she was his idol in affection.

    The Fair God Lew Wallace
  • You have described a god; it is quetzal, the holy, beautiful quetzal!

    The Fair God Lew Wallace
  • On the day of the combat, about the time of the assemblage, I went to the C of quetzal for blessing.

    The Fair God Lew Wallace
  • I have withdrawn from the world, I live but for quetzal and Anahuac.

    The Fair God Lew Wallace
  • Mualox, Mualox, have you room for a perfect love aside from quetzal?

    The Fair God Lew Wallace
  • I hunger after no riches except such as lie in the love of quetzal.

    The Fair God Lew Wallace
  • I am but the dutiful slave of quetzal, the god, and Montezuma, the king.

    The Fair God Lew Wallace
British Dictionary definitions for quetzal


noun (pl) -zals, -zales (-ˈsɑːlɛs)
Also called resplendent trogon. a crested bird, Pharomachrus mocinno, of Central and N South America, which has a brilliant green, red, and white plumage and, in the male, long tail feathers: family Trogonidae, order Trogoniformes (trogons)
the standard monetary unit of Guatemala, divided into 100 centavos
Word Origin
via American Spanish from Nahuatl quetzalli brightly coloured tail feather
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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Word Origin and History for quetzal

central American bird with brilliant plumage, 1827, from Spanish quetzal, from Aztec quetzalli the bird name, literally "tail-feather."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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