any of several small Old World birds having a red or reddish breast, especially Erithacus rubecula, of Europe.
a large American thrush, Turdus migratorius, having a chestnut-red breast and abdomen.
any of several similar thrushes of the New World tropics, not necessarily having reddish underparts, as T. grayi (clay-colored robin), of Mexico and Central America.

Origin of robin

First recorded in 1540–50; short for robin redbreast
Also called robin redbreast (for defs 1, 2).




a male or female given name: derived from Robert. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for robin



Also called: robin redbreast a small Old World songbird, Erithacus rubecula, related to the thrushes: family Muscicapidae . The male has a brown back, orange-red breast and face, and grey underparts
a North American thrush, Turdus migratorius, similar to but larger than the Old World robin
any of various similar birds having a reddish breast

Word Origin for robin

C16: arbitrary use of given name
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 robin

common European songbird, 1540s, shortening of Robin Redbreast (mid-15c.), from masc. personal name Robin. It ousted the native ruddock. In North America, the name was applied to the red-breasted thrush by 1703. Robin's egg as a shade of blue is attested from 1881.


masc. proper name, from Old French Robin, diminutive of Robert (q.v.). Robin Goodfellow "sportive elf of the English countryside," is first attested 1530s, popular 16-17c.; Robin Hood is at least from late 14c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper