- any of several small, Old World thrushes, usually with reddish-brown tails, especially Phoenicurus phoenicurus (European redstart).
- any of several fly-catching, New World warblers, especially Setophaga ruticilla (American redstart), having black and white plumage with reddish-orange patches.
Origin of redstart
1560–70; red1 + obsolete start tail (Middle English start, stert tail, handle, Old English steort tail; akin to Old High German sterz, Old Norse stertr)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for redstart
The structure on the apple bough was the redstart homestead.
It was a redstart nest without doubt, but who owned the baby?
Had, then, an owl paid a twilight visit, and could a redstart be surprised?
There was no doubt about his being a redstart baby, as I had been convinced from the first.
By this means Mrs. Pearson last summer found a Redstart's nest.The Bird Study Book
Thomas Gilbert Pearson
- any European songbird of the genus Phoenicurus, esp P. phoenicurus, in which the male has a black throat, orange-brown tail and breast, and grey back: family Muscicapidae (thrushes, etc)
- any North American warbler of the genus Setophaga, esp S. ruticilla
Old English rēad red 1 + steort tail; compare German Rotsterz
Word Origin and History for redstart
type of bird, 1560s, from red (adj.1) + start "tail," from Old English steort. Cf. German Rotsterz.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper