• synonyms


  1. any of various large, long-tailed parrots, chiefly of the genus Ara, of tropical and subtropical America, noted for their brilliant plumage and harsh voice.
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Origin of macaw

1660–70; < Portuguese macao, macau < Tupi makʾo
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for macaw

Historical Examples

  • Marriott, I cannot endure that macaw—you must part with it for my sake, Marriott.

    Tales And Novels, Volume 3 (of 10)

    Maria Edgeworth

  • When my dear, good Miss Portman, sent this macaw—My dear aunt!

  • These alone have feathers at the base, generally from the wings of the macaw.

    The Western World

    W.H.G. Kingston

  • In her neat black turban hat was the gold-green wing of a macaw.

  • Macaw—Ara,” said my uncle; “flying across from tree to tree?

    Through Forest and Stream

    George Manville Fenn

British Dictionary definitions for macaw


  1. any large tropical American parrot of the genera Ara and Anodorhynchus, having a long tail and brilliant plumage
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Word Origin

C17: from Portuguese macau, of unknown origin
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 macaw


species of large, long-tailed birds, 1660s, from Portuguese macau, from a word in a Brazilian language, perhaps Tupi macavuana, which may be the name of a type of palm tree the fruit of which the birds eat.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper