bird

{{11}}bird (n.1) O.E. bird, rare collateral form of bridd, originally "young bird, nestling" (the usual O.E. for "bird" being fugol), of uncertain origin with no cognates in any other Germanic language. The suggestion that it is related by umlaut to brood and breed is rejected by OED as "quite inadmissible." Metathesis of -r- and -i- was complete 15c.
Middle English, in which bird referred to various young animals and even human beings, may have preserved the original meaning of this word. Despite its early attestation, bridd is not necessarily the oldest form of bird. It is usually assumed that -ir- from -ri- arose by metathesis, but here, too, the Middle English form may go back to an ancient period. [Liberman]
Figurative sense of "secret source of information" is from 1540s. Bird dog (n.) attested from 1832, a gun dog used in hunting game birds; hence the verb (1941) meaning "to follow closely." Bird-watching attested from 1897. Bird's-eye view is from 1762. For the birds recorded from 1944, supposedly in allusion to birds eating from droppings of horses and cattle.
A byrde yn honde ys better than three yn the wode. [c.1530]
{{12}}bird (n.2) "maiden, young girl," c.1300, confused with BURD (Cf. burd) (q.v.), but felt by later writers as a figurative use of BIRD (Cf. bird) (n.1). Modern slang meaning "young woman" is from 1915, and probably arose independently of the older word.
{{12}}bird (n.3) "middle finger held up in a rude gesture," slang derived from 1860s expression give the big bird "to hiss someone like a goose," kept alive in vaudeville slang with sense of "to greet someone with boos, hisses, and catcalls" (1922), transferred 1960s to the "up yours" hand gesture (the rigid finger representing the hypothetical object to be inserted) on notion of defiance and contempt. Gesture itself seems to be much older (the human anatomy section of a 12c. Latin bestiary in Cambridge describes the middle finger as that "by means of which the pursuit of dishonour is indicated").

Etymology dictionary. 2014.

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  • Bird — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Adrian Peter Bird, britischer Genetiker Andrew Bird (Filmeditor) (* 1957), britischer Filmeditor und Übersetzer Andrew Bird (Ruderer) (* 1967), neuseeländischer Ruderer Andrew Bird (Musiker) (* 1973), US… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • BIRD — (homonymie) Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. {{{image}}}   Sigles d une seule lettre   Sigles de deux lettres   Sigles de trois lettres …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Bird — (b[ e]rd), n. [OE. brid, bred, bird, young bird, bird, AS. bridd young bird. [root]92.] 1. Orig., a chicken; the young of a fowl; a young eaglet; a nestling; and hence, a feathered flying animal (see 2). [1913 Webster] That ungentle gull, the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • bird — W2S2 [bə:d US bə:rd] n [: Old English; Origin: bridd] 1.) a creature with wings and feathers that can usually fly. Many birds sing and build nests, and female birds lay eggs. ▪ wild birds ▪ The dawn was filled with the sound of birds. ▪ a flock… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • bird — ► NOUN 1) a warm blooded egg laying vertebrate animal which has feathers, wings, and a beak, and typically is able to fly. 2) informal a person of a specified kind or character: she s a sharp old bird. 3) Brit. informal a young woman or… …   English terms dictionary

  • bird — [bʉrd] n. [ME bird, brid < OE bridd, bird, orig., young bird] 1. any of a class (Aves) of warmblooded, two legged, egg laying vertebrates with feathers and wings 2. a small game bird: distinguished from WATERFOWL 3. a clay pigeon in… …   English World dictionary

  • bird — [ bɜrd ] noun count *** 1. ) an animal covered in feathers, with two wings for flying and a hard pointed mouth called a beak or a bill. Birds build nests, in which female birds lay eggs. 2. ) OLD FASHIONED a particular type of person: She s a… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • BIRD — bezeichnet einen Kleinsatelliten des Deutschen Zentrums für Luft und Raumfahrt (DLR), der am DLR Standort Berlin Adlershof unter Mitarbeit anderer DLR Standorte entwickelt und gebaut wurde. Wesentliche Komponenten und Beiträge stammen vom… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • bird|ie — «BUR dee», noun, verb, bird|ied, bird|y|ing. –n. 1. a little bird. 2. a score of one stroke less than par for any hole on a golf course. 3. = shuttlecock. (Cf. ↑shutt …   Useful english dictionary

  • bird|y — «BUR dee», adjective, bird|i|er, bird|i|est. 1. resembling or suggesting a bird: »Pauline made birdy, disapproving vibrations with her head (New Yorker). 2 …   Useful english dictionary

  • bird|er — «BUR duhr», noun. 1. a person who breeds birds. 2. = bird watcher. (Cf. ↑bird watcher) …   Useful english dictionary

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