[ kat-burd ]

  1. any of several American or Australian birds having catlike cries, especially Dumetella carolinensis(gray catbird ), of North America.

Origin of catbird

An Americanism dating back to 1700–10; cat + bird Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use catbird in a sentence

  • I hurried downstairs, and as I appeared the jay flew, with two catbirds after him, still crying in a way I had never heard before.

    A Bird-Lover in the West | Olive Thorne Miller
  • The catbirds build more loosely, weaving strips of cedar bark into a rough basket.

  • Catbirds and robins are among the most abundant breeders, while chickadees and white-breasted nuthatches are less often seen.

    The Log of the Sun | William Beebe
  • He was put in with some other young birds,—meadowlarks and catbirds.

    The Children's Book of Birds | Olive Thorne Miller
  • "No publicity" is the watchword of the young catbirds as well as of the old.

    Under the Maples | John Burroughs

British Dictionary definitions for catbird


/ (ˈkætˌbɜːd) /

  1. any of several North American songbirds of the family Mimidae (mockingbirds), esp Dumetella carolinensis, whose call resembles the mewing of a cat

  2. any of several Australian bowerbirds of the genera Ailuroedus and Scenopoeetes, having a catlike call

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