sparrowless, adj.sparrowlike, adj.
/spar"oh/, n.
1. any of numerous American finches of the family Emberizinae. Cf. chipping sparrow, song sparrow.
2. any member of the Old World genus Passer, formerly thought to be closely related to the weaverbirds but now placed in their own family, Passeridae.
3. Brit. the house sparrow.
4. any of several other unrelated small birds. Cf. Java sparrow, hedge sparrow.
5. (cap.) Mil. a 12-ft. (4-m), all-weather, radar-guided U.S. air-to-air missile with an 88-lb. (40-kg) high-explosive warhead.
[bef. 900; ME sparowe, OE spearwa; c. Goth sparwa, ON sporr]

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Any of numerous species of small, chiefly seed-eating songbirds having a conical bill, particularly members of the Old World family Ploceidae, the house sparrow, and most members of the New World family Fringillidae.

Some species of Fringillidae are common. The trim-looking chipping and tree sparrows have a reddish brown cap. The finely streaked savanna and vesper sparrows inhabit grassy fields. The heavily streaked song and fox sparrows are woodland dwellers. The white-crowned and white-throated sparrows are larger than most species and have black-and-white crown stripes.

White-throated sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis).

William D. Griffin
(as used in expressions)

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 any of a number of small, chiefly seed-eating birds having conical bills. The name sparrow is most firmly attached to birds of the Old World family Ploceidae (order Passeriformes), particularly to the house sparrow (Passer domesticus) that is so common in temperate North America and Europe, but also to many New World members of the Fringillidae. The house sparrow and its relatives, however, probably do not belong in Ploceidae and may be classified as a separate family, Passeridae.

 Most members of the New World family Fringillidae (subfamily Emberizinae) are called sparrows. Examples breeding in North America are the chipping sparrow (Spizella passerina) and the tree sparrow (S. arborea), trim-looking little birds with reddish-brown caps; the savanna sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis) and the vesper sparrow (Pooecetes gramineus), finely streaked birds of grassy fields; the song sparrow (Melospiza melodia) and the fox sparrow (Passerella iliaca), heavily streaked skulkers in woodlands; and the white-crowned sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys) and the white-throated sparrow (Z. albicollis), larger species with black-and-white crown stripes. The rufous-collared sparrow (Z. capensis) has an exceptionally wide breeding distribution: from Mexico and Caribbean islands to Tierra del Fuego. A great many emberizine sparrows are native to Central and South America. See also accentor.

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Universalium. 2010.

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Look at other dictionaries:

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