from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Any of various game birds of the family Phasianidae, characteristically having a long tail, especially the ring-necked pheasant. The males of many species have brilliantly colored plumage.
  • noun Any of several other birds that resemble a pheasant, such as a partridge.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun This name is popularly applied to a great variety of gallinaceous birds, including curassows, mound-builders, and francolins; and sometimes it is extended to other birds which in size or habits suggest the fowls. Such are the lyre-birds of Australia and the ground-cuckoos, Centropus.
  • noun A bird of the genus Phasianus, family Phasianidæ. (See the technical names.)

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Zoöl.) Any one of numerous species of large gallinaceous birds of the genus Phasianus, and many other genera of the family Phasianidæ, found chiefly in Asia.
  • noun (Zoöl.), Southern U.S. The ruffed grouse.
  • noun See Fireback.
  • noun (Zoöl.) a Chinese pheasant (Thaumalea picta), having rich, varied colors. The crest is amber-colored, the rump is golden yellow, and the under parts are scarlet.
  • noun (Zoöl.), [Local, U.S.] the ruffed grouse.
  • noun (Zoöl.) a large Australian cuckoo (Centropus phasianus). The general color is black, with chestnut wings and brown tail. Called also pheasant cuckoo. The name is also applied to other allied species.
  • noun (Zoöl.) The hooded merganser.
  • noun (Zoöl.) a large and beautiful Australian parrakeet (Platycercus Adelaidensis). The male has the back black, the feathers margined with yellowish blue and scarlet, the quills deep blue, the wing coverts and cheeks light blue, the crown, sides of the neck, breast, and middle of the belly scarlet.
  • noun (Bot.) The garden pink (Dianthus plumarius); -- called also Pheasant's-eye pink.
  • noun (Zoöl.) any marine univalve shell of the genus Phasianella, of which numerous species are found in tropical seas. The shell is smooth and usually richly colored, the colors often forming blotches like those of a pheasant.
  • noun (Bot.) Same as Partridge wood (a), under Partridge.
  • noun (Zoöl.) the pintail.
  • noun (Zoöl.) The hooded merganser.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A bird of family Phasianidae, often hunted for food.

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

  • noun large long-tailed gallinaceous bird native to the Old World but introduced elsewhere
  • noun flesh of a pheasant; usually braised


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

[Middle English fesaunt, from Old French fesan, from Latin phāsiānus, from Greek phāsiānos (ornīs), (bird) of the Phasis River, pheasant, from Phāsis, the ancient name for the Rioni River in the Republic of Georgia.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English fesant, from Old French fesan, from Latin phāsiānus, from Ancient Greek φασιανός (phasianos) ("bird of the river Φᾶσις (Phȃsis)") from where, it was supposed, the bird spread to the west.


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  • The phat pheasant pleasantly pleaded her plight as she plopped piggishly into the pie.

    September 16, 2007

  • Oh please.

    September 17, 2007

  • Calidris maritima pipes 'weak wit',

    Gypactus barbatus thinly cries 'queer',

    the Pheasant's 'cork cock' oft' delights the ear,

    the Little Stint, when flushed, has a sharp 'tit',

    Calidris alba calls on us to 'quit',

    the Reed Bunting's alarm call 'shit' rings clear.

    Is this Calidris canutus we hear?

    Hark! a low 'nut', in flight, a whistling 'twit'.

    But what is this deep sighing 'oo-oo-oo'

    more moaning than Strix aluco? 'Quick quick!'

    Turnix sylvatica's 'croo croo crooo CROOO'

    bursts from a bush. A hard explosive 'prik'

    (from Coccothraustes coccothraustes sends

    exciting vibes to sensitive nerve-ends.

    - Peter Reading, Ornithological Petrarchan, from Tom O' Bedlam's Beauties, 1981

    June 28, 2008

  • is anyone else disillusioned with the flavour of pheasant? one imagines a feast of kings, 'fat swan roasted whole' and the like...but it's sort of turkeyish

    September 19, 2009

  • "Never forget that the pheasant must be awaited like the pension of a man of letters who has never indulged in epistles to the ministers nor written madrigals for their mistresses."

    - Des Essarts - French actor and ubercorpulent gastronome of bygone days, quoted (in translation) in the classic Larousse Gastronomique

    September 24, 2009