noun British (chiefly Literary ).

a song thrush.

Origin of mavis

1350–1400; Middle English mavys < Anglo-French mauviz, probably equivalent to ma(u)ve seagull (< Old English mæw mew2) + -iz of unclear orig.




a female given name. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for mavis

Contemporary Examples of mavis

Historical Examples of mavis

  • The second engineer of the steamer Mavis, for instance, ought to have been his twin brother.

    A Personal Record

    Joseph Conrad

  • What Canadian birds could be substituted for the mavis and the cuckoo?

    Ontario Teachers' Manuals: Literature

    Ontario Ministry of Education

  • “Indeed there are and quite delicious”—Mrs. Mavis largely wiped her mouth.

    The Patagonia

    Henry James

  • Of course in such a case she, Mrs. Mavis, had had to fly round.

    The Patagonia

    Henry James

  • A chilling thought struck him: was this what happened to the crew of the Mavis?

    The Judas Valley

    Gerald Vance

British Dictionary definitions for mavis



a popular name for the song thrush

Word Origin for mavis

C14: from Old French mauvis thrush; origin obscure
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 mavis

"song thrush," c.1400, mavys, from Old French mauvis, of unknown origin; related to Spanish malvis. Breton milfid is a French loan word.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper