noun, plural quet·zals, quet·za·les [ket-sah-leys] /kɛtˈsɑ leɪs/.

any of several large Central and South American trogons of the genus Pharomachrus, having golden-green and scarlet plumage, especially P. mocino (resplendent quetzal), the national bird of Guatemala: rare and possibly endangered.
a paper money and monetary unit of Guatemala, equal to 100 centavos. Abbreviation: Q.

Also que·zal [ke-sahl] /kɛˈsɑl/.

Origin of quetzal

1820–30; < American Spanish < Nahuatl quetzalli plumage of the quetzal bird
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for quetzal

Historical Examples of quetzal

  • The lion and the tiger roared, and the first bird that sang was the Quetzal.

    The Stories of El Dorado

    Frona Eunice Wait

  • Would you have me believe all this from Quetzal, show me something that is to come.

    The Fair God

    Lew Wallace

  • The revelation of Mualox was prophecy here confirmed,—Quetzal was coming!

    The Fair God

    Lew Wallace

  • You have described a god; it is Quetzal, the holy, beautiful Quetzal!

    The Fair God

    Lew Wallace

  • On the day of the combat, about the time of the assemblage, I went to the C of Quetzal for blessing.

    The Fair God

    Lew Wallace

British Dictionary definitions for quetzal


quezal (kɛˈsɑːl)

noun plural -zals or -zales (-ˈsɑːlɛs)

Also called: resplendent trogon a crested bird, Pharomachrus mocinno, of Central and N South America, which has a brilliant green, red, and white plumage and, in the male, long tail feathers: family Trogonidae, order Trogoniformes (trogons)
the standard monetary unit of Guatemala, divided into 100 centavos

Word Origin for quetzal

via American Spanish from Nahuatl quetzalli brightly coloured tail feather
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 quetzal

central American bird with brilliant plumage, 1827, from Spanish quetzal, from Aztec quetzalli the bird name, literally "tail-feather."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper