bullfinch

1
[boo l-finch]
|

noun

a European finch, Pyrrhula pyrrhula, often kept as a pet, the male of which has a black, white, and bluish-gray back and a rosy breast.
any of several related or similar birds.

Origin of bullfinch

1
1560–70; bull1 (perhaps in sense “bull-necked”) + finch

bullfinch

2
[boo l-finch]

noun

a hedge high enough to impede mounted hunters.

Origin of bullfinch

2
First recorded in 1825–35; of uncertain origin
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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Historical Examples of bullfinch


British Dictionary definitions for bullfinch

bullfinch

1

noun

a common European finch, Pyrrhula pyrrhula : the male has a bright red throat and breast, black crown, wings, and tail, and a grey-and-white back
any of various similar finches

Word Origin for bullfinch

C14: see bull 1, finch; probably so called from its stocky shape and thick neck

bullfinch

2

noun

British a high thick hedge too difficult for a horse and rider to jump

Word Origin for bullfinch

C19: perhaps changed from the phrase bull fence
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 bullfinch
n.

1560s, from bull (n.1) + finch; supposedly so called for the shape of its head and neck; cf. French bouvreuil.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper