• synonyms


or merl

noun Chiefly Scot.
  1. the blackbird, Turdus merula.
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Origin of merle1

1350–1400; Middle English merule < Middle French < Latin merulus, merula ousel, blackbird
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for merl



  1. Scot another name for the (European) blackbird
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Word Origin

C15: via Old French from Latin merula


  1. (of a dog, esp a collie) having a bluish-grey coat with speckles or streaks of blackOften called: blue merle
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Word Origin

C20: from dialect mirlet, mirly speckled
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 merl



"blackbird," late 15c., from Old French merle "blackbird" (12c.), from Latin merulus "blackbird," from PIE *ams- "black, blackbird" (cf. Old English osle "blackbird;" see ouzel). The word owes its survival in modern times to its use by Scottish poets. The Latin word shows effects of rhotacism. It also is the source of Provençal and Spanish merla, Portuguese merlo, and Italian merla. Borrowed from French are Middle Dutch and German merle, Dutch meerle.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper