- 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 que·zal [ke-sahl] /kɛˈsɑl/.
Origin of quetzal
1820–30; < American Spanish < Nahuatl quetzalli plumage of the quetzal bird
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for quetzal
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 revelation of Mualox was prophecy here confirmed,—Quetzal was coming!
You have described a god; it is Quetzal, the holy, beautiful Quetzal!
On the day of the combat, about the time of the assemblage, I went to the C of Quetzal for blessing.
- 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
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
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