• synonyms


[pas-er-in, -uh-rahyn, -uh-reen]
  1. of, belonging, or pertaining to the order Passeriformes, comprising more than half of all birds and typically having the feet adapted for perching.
  2. oscine(def 1).
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  1. any bird of the order Passeriformes.
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Origin of passerine

1770–80; < Latin passerīnus of a sparrow, equivalent to passer sparrow + -īnus -ine1
Related formsnon·pas·ser·ine, adjective, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for passerine

Historical Examples

  • Perhaps it may be best to clear off the few Passerine species first.

    Among the Birds in Northern Shires

    Charles Dixon

  • The Buntings (Emberizid) are intimately associated with the Passerine birds.

    Reptiles and Birds

    Louis Figuier

  • On Karindingen Island this was the only passerine bird seen.

  • The famous black drongo or king-crow (Dicrurus ater) is the type of this well-marked family of passerine birds.

  • Passerine birds typically sing at a high rate throughout courtship and nestbuilding, but at a markedly lower rate thereafter.

British Dictionary definitions for passerine


  1. of, relating to, or belonging to the Passeriformes, an order of birds characterized by the perching habit: includes the larks, finches, crows, thrushes, starlings, etc
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  1. any bird belonging to the order Passeriformes
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Word Origin

C18: from Latin passer sparrow
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 passerine


1776, from Latin passerinus "of a sparrow," from passer "sparrow," possibly of imitative origin. The noun is 1842, from the adjective.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

passerine in Science


  1. Belonging to the avian order Passeriformes, which includes the perching birds. Passerine birds make up more than half of all living birds. They are of small to medium size, have three toes pointing forward and one pointing back, and are often brightly colored. Larks, swallows, jays, crows, wrens, thrushes, cardinals, finches, sparrows, and blackbirds are all passerine birds.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.