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[shrahyk] /ʃraɪk/
any of numerous predaceous oscine birds of the family Laniidae, having a strong, hooked, and toothed bill, feeding on insects and sometimes on small birds and other animals: the members of certain species impale their prey on thorns or suspend it from the branches of trees to tear it apart more easily, and are said to kill more than is necessary for them to eat.
any of several other birds having similar bills, as the vanga shrikes.
(initial capital letter) Military. a 10-foot (3-meter), 400-pound (180-kg) U.S. air-to-ground missile designed to destroy missile batteries by homing in on their radar emissions.
Origin of shrike
1535-45; perhaps continuing Old English scrīc thrush; akin to Old Norse skrīkja to twitter; see shriek Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for shrike
Historical Examples
  • The shrike is said to catch mice, but it is not known to attack squirrels.

  • But the shrike pleaded his innocence, and I had no proof against him.

    Policeman Bluejay

    L. Frank Baum
  • The shrike did not see him till the owl was almost within the branches.

  • It is unusual to see a shrike at as high an elevation as 6000 feet.

  • It was the shrike, who thought he was sure of a dinner when he saw those canaries.

    Riverby John Burroughs
  • The shrike had probably come to town to try his luck with English sparrows.

    Riverby John Burroughs
  • I doubt if the shrike could have killed him, but it certainly gave him a good fright.

    Riverby John Burroughs
  • Their habits, however, differ but little from those of the true shrike.

    Reptiles and Birds Louis Figuier
  • The shrike is a citizen of the world, being found in both hemispheres.

    Locusts and Wild Honey John Burroughs
  • Goldfinch, American (Astragalinus tristis), a shrike in a flock of.

    Locusts and Wild Honey John Burroughs
British Dictionary definitions for shrike


Also called butcherbird. any songbird of the chiefly Old World family Laniidae, having a heavy hooked bill and feeding on smaller animals which they sometimes impale on thorns, barbed wire, etc See also bush shrike (sense 1)
any of various similar but unrelated birds, such as the cuckoo shrikes
shrike thrush, shrike tit, another name for thickhead (sense 2)
Word Origin
Old English scrīc thrush; related to Middle Dutch schrīk corncrake; see screech1, shriek
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 shrike

1540s, apparently from a survival of Old English scric "a shrike or thrush," literally "bird with a shrill call," probably echoic of its cry and related to shriek (cf. Old Norse skrikja "shrieker, shrike," German schrik "moor hen," Swedish skrika "jay").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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