from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A small North American quail (Colinus virginianus) having brown plumage with white markings.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any one of four species of quail in the genus Colinus, of the bird family Odontophoridae, limited to the Americas.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The common quail of North America (Colinus, or Ortyx, Virginianus); -- so called from its note.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A name of the bird Ortyx virginianus, commonly known in America as the quail or partridge. See cut under quail.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a popular North American game bird; named for its call


Imitative of its call.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
(onomatopoeia) (Wiktionary)



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  • They joined gallery spectators in the bobwhite whistle the year the servants of the people solemnly debated the right of the quail to be protected as a song bird.
    —James Thurber, 1952, 'Gentleman from Indiana', in The Thurber Album

    July 14, 2008