1. any of numerous small, short-tailed, sharp-beaked birds of the family Sittidae that creep on trees and feed on small nuts and insects.

Origin of nuthatch

1300–50; Middle English notehache, nuthagge, nuthak, literally, nut hacker. See nut, hack1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for nuthatch

Historical Examples of nuthatch

  • There was Nuthatch Village, which seemed to have stepped out of Morland's pictures.

    Mary Gray

    Katharine Tynan

  • There is a good deal of white in the tail, which is short in this and in all species of nuthatch.

  • A red streak flashed down the limb on which the nuthatch was working.

    Everyday Adventures

    Samuel Scoville

  • He was hardly out of sight when the nuthatch was tapping again at his door.

    Everyday Adventures

    Samuel Scoville

  • His visit was even shorter than that of the Nuthatch, but not less enjoyable.

British Dictionary definitions for nuthatch


  1. any songbird of the family Sittidae, esp Sitta europaea, having strong feet and bill, and feeding on insects, seeds, and nuts

Word Origin for nuthatch

C14: notehache, from note nut + hache hatchet, from the bird's habit of splitting nuts; see nut, hack 1
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 nuthatch

mid-14c., probably so called from its habit of breaking open and eating nuts; from nut + second element related to hack (v.) and hatchet.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper