1. a very small nectar-sipping New World bird of the family Trochilidae, characterized by the brilliant, iridescent plumage of the male, a slender bill, and narrow wings, the extremely rapid beating of which produces a humming sound: noted for their ability to hover and to fly upward, downward, and backward in a horizontal position.

Origin of hummingbird

An Americanism dating back to 1625–35; humming + bird Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for hummingbird

Contemporary Examples of hummingbird

Historical Examples of hummingbird

  • She had an instinct for choiceness like a hummingbird, darting here and there for sweetness.

    The Lovely Lady

    Mary Austin

  • In several of the National Parks a number of species of hummingbird are found.

    Your National Parks

    Enos A. Mills

  • The white-crowned sparrow and two or three species of hummingbird do this.

    Your National Parks

    Enos A. Mills

  • The Black-chinned Hummingbird is like all the other birds of its kind.

  • There were astake trees there on the mesa: there he saw that a hummingbird (nyenyene) had its nest.

    Seven Mohave Myths

    A. L. Kroeber

British Dictionary definitions for hummingbird


  1. any very small American bird of the family Trochilidae, having a brilliant iridescent plumage, long slender bill, and wings specialized for very powerful vibrating flight: order Apodiformes
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