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[hweet-eer, weet-] /ˈʰwitˌɪər, ˈwit-/
any of several small, chiefly Old World thrushes of the genus Oenanthe, having a distinctive white rump, especially O. oenanthe, of Eurasia and North America.
Origin of wheatear
1585-95; probably back formation from wheatears, for *whiteers white rump. See white, arse Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for wheatear


any small northern songbird of the genus Oenanthe, esp O. oenanthe, a species having a pale grey back, black wings and tail, white rump, and pale brown underparts: subfamily Turdinae (thrushes)
Word Origin
C16: back formation from wheatears (wrongly taken as plural), probably from white + arse; compare Dutch witstaart, French culblanc white tail
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 wheatear

type of bird, 1590s, back-formation from white-ears, literally "white-arse" (see white + arse). So called for its color markings; cf. French name for the bird, cul-blanc, literally "white rump."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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