[ tahr-mi-guh n ]
/ ˈtɑr mɪ gən /

noun, plural ptar·mi·gans, (especially collectively) ptar·mi·gan.

any of several grouses of the genus Lagopus, of mountainous and cold northern regions, having feathered feet.

Nearby words

  1. pt.,
  2. pta,
  3. pta.,
  4. ptah,
  5. ptarmic,
  6. ptc,
  7. ptca,
  8. pte,
  9. pter-,
  10. pteranodon

Origin of ptarmigan

1590–1600; pseudo-Greek spelling of Scots Gaelic tarmarchan, akin to Irish tarmanach Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for ptarmigan

British Dictionary definitions for ptarmigan


/ (ˈtɑːmɪɡən) /

noun plural -gans or -gan

any of several arctic and subarctic grouse of the genus Lagopus, esp L. mutus, which has a white winter plumage
(sometimes capital) a created domestic fancy pigeon with ruffled or curled feathers on the wings and back

Word Origin for ptarmigan

C16: changed (perhaps influenced by Greek pteron wing) from Scottish Gaelic tarmachan, diminutive of tarmach, of obscure 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 ptarmigan



bird of the grouse family, 1590s, from Gaelic tarmachan, of unknown origin. The pt- spelling (1680s) is a mistaken Greek construction (perhaps based on pteron "wing").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper