Origin of daw

1400–50; late Middle English dawe; compare Old High German taha
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for daws

Contemporary Examples of daws

Historical Examples of daws

  • The world knew; his heart was on his sleeve for daws to peck at.

    The Music Master

    Charles Klein

  • We do not “wear our hearts” on our sleeve “for daws to peck at!”

    She and I, Volume 2

    John Conroy Hutcheson

  • How they would chatter over it like a pair of daws in the same nest.


    S. R. Crockett

  • "But not for daws to peck at—that is the heart," laughed Mr. Ayrton.

    Phyllis of Philistia

    Frank Frankfort Moore

  • He had a warm heart, although he did not wear it on his sleeve for daws to peck at.

British Dictionary definitions for daws


  1. an archaic, dialect, or poetic name for a jackdaw

Word Origin for daw

C15: related to Old High German taha
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 daws



early 15c., from Proto-Germanic *dakhwo (cf. Old High German taha, German Dohle), perhaps imitative of bird's cry. Medieval Latin tacula, Italian taccola are said to be Germanic loan words.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper