any of several large oscine birds of the genus Corvus, of the family Corvidae, having a long, stout bill, lustrous black plumage, and a wedge-shaped tail, as the common C. brachyrhynchos, of North America.
any of several other birds of the family Corvidae.
any of various similar birds of other families.
(initial capital letter) Astronomy. the constellation Corvus.


    as the crow flies, in a straight line; by the most direct route: The next town is thirty miles from here, as the crow flies.
    eat crow, Informal. to be forced to admit to having made a mistake, as by retracting an emphatic statement; suffer humiliation: His prediction was completely wrong, and he had to eat crow.
    have a crow to pick/pluck with someone, Midland and Southern U.S. to have a reason to disagree or argue with someone.

Origin of crow

before 900; Middle English crowe, Old English crāwe, crāwa; cognate with Old High German krāwa; akin to Dutch kraai, German Krähe
Can be confusedcraw crow



verb (used without object), crowed or for 1, (especially British), crew; crowed; crow·ing.

to utter the characteristic cry of a rooster.
to gloat, boast, or exult (often followed by over).
to utter an inarticulate cry of pleasure, as an infant does.


the characteristic cry of a rooster.
an inarticulate cry of pleasure.

Origin of crow

before 1000; Middle English crowen, Old English crāwan; cognate with Dutch kraaien, German krähen; see crow1
Related formscrow·er, nouncrow·ing·ly, adverb

Synonyms for crow

2. vaunt, brag.




a member of a Siouan people of eastern Montana.
a Siouan language closely related to Hidatsa.

Origin of Crow

1795–1805; translation of North American French (gens des) Corbeaux Raven (people), literal translation of Crow apsá˙loke a Crow Indian Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for crow

Contemporary Examples of crow

Historical Examples of crow

  • Methinks that Gascony is too small a cock to crow so lustily.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • If anything should happen, the call will be three croaks of a crow.

    The Last of the Mohicans

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • She is not so infallible a markswoman, but that she might shoot at a crow and kill a pigeon.

    Maid Marian

    Thomas Love Peacock

  • His flight to the crow's nest had been an effort to escape its fury, but it had followed him there.

  • The Crow had got too much of a start, they said, considering that the wind was in her favour.

    Henry Dunbar

    M. E. Braddon

British Dictionary definitions for crow




any large gregarious songbird of the genus Corvus, esp C. corone (the carrion crow) of Europe and Asia: family Corvidae . Other species are the raven, rook, and jackdaw and all have a heavy bill, glossy black plumage, and rounded wingsSee also carrion crow Related adjective: corvine
any of various other corvine birds, such as the jay, magpie, and nutcracker
any of various similar birds of other families
offensive an old or ugly woman
short for crowbar
as the crow flies as directly as possible
eat crow US and Canadian informal to be forced to do something humiliating
stone the crows stone

Word Origin for crow

Old English crāwa; related to Old Norse krāka, Old High German krāia, Dutch kraai



verb (intr)

(past tense crowed or crew) to utter a shrill squawking sound, as a cock
(often foll by over) to boast one's superiority
(esp of babies) to utter cries of pleasure


the act or an instance of crowing
Derived Formscrower, nouncrowingly, adverb

Word Origin for crow

Old English crāwan; related to Old High German krāen, Dutch kraaien



plural Crows or Crow a member of a Native American people living in E Montana
the language of this people, belonging to the Siouan family
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 crow

Old English crawe, imitative of bird's cry. Phrase eat crow is perhaps based on the notion that the bird is edible when boiled but hardly agreeable; first attested 1851, American English, but said to date to War of 1812 (Walter Etecroue turns up 1361 in the Calendar of Letter Books of the City of London). Crow's foot "wrinkle around the corner of the eye" is late 14c. Phrase as the crow flies first recorded 1800.


Old English crawian "make a loud noise like a crow" (see crow (n.)); sense of "exult in triumph" is 1520s, perhaps in part because the English crow is a carrion-eater. Related: Crowed; crowing.


Indian tribe of the American Midwest, the name is a rough translation of their own name, Apsaruke.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with crow


In addition to the idiom beginning with crow

  • crown jewels
  • crow over

also see:

  • as the crow flies
  • eat crow
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.