wheatear

[ hweet-eer, weet- ]
/ ˈʰwitˌɪər, ˈwit- /
|

noun

any of several small, chiefly Old World thrushes of the genus Oenanthe, having a distinctive white rump, especially O. oenanthe, of Eurasia and North America.

Origin of wheatear

1585–95; probably back formation from wheatears, for *whiteers white rump. See white, arse
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for wheatear

wheatear

/ (ˈwiːtˌɪə) /

noun

any small northern songbird of the genus Oenanthe, esp O. oenanthe, a species having a pale grey back, black wings and tail, white rump, and pale brown underparts: subfamily Turdinae (thrushes)

Word Origin for wheatear

C16: back formation from wheatears (wrongly taken as plural), probably from white + arse; compare Dutch witstaart, French culblanc white tail
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 wheatear

wheatear


n.

type of bird, 1590s, back-formation from white-ears, literally "white-arse" (see white + arse). So called for its color markings; cf. French name for the bird, cul-blanc, literally "white rump."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper