black-billed magpie


See under magpie(def 1).

Nearby words

  1. black-backed gull,
  2. black-bag,
  3. black-bag job,
  4. black-bellied plover,
  5. black-billed cuckoo,
  6. black-capped chickadee,
  7. black-coated,
  8. black-crowned night heron,
  9. black-eyed pea,
  10. black-eyed susan

Origin of black-billed magpie

An Americanism dating back to 1865–70




either of two corvine birds, Pica pica (black-billed magpie), of Eurasia and North America, or P. nuttalli (yellow-billed magpie), of California, having long, graduated tails, black-and-white plumage, and noisy, mischievous habits.
any of several related corvine birds.
any of several black-and-white birds not related to the true magpies, as Gymnorhina tibicen, of Australia.
an incessantly talkative person; noisy chatterer; chatterbox.
a person who collects or hoards things, especially indiscriminately.
Western U.S. a black-and-white cow or steer, as a Holstein.

Origin of magpie

1595–1605; Mag Margaret + pie2 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for black-billed magpie



any of various passerine birds of the genus Pica, esp P. pica, having a black-and-white plumage, long tail, and a chattering call: family Corvidae (crows, etc)
any of various similar birds of the Australian family CracticidaeSee also butcherbird (def. 2)
any of various other similar or related birds
(often capital) a variety of domestic fancy pigeon typically having black-and-white markings
British a person who hoards small objects
a person who chatters
  1. the outmost ring but one on a target
  2. a shot that hits this ring

Word Origin for magpie

C17: from Mag diminutive of Margaret, used to signify a chatterbox + pie ²

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 black-billed magpie


Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper