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

  • n. Any of various grouses of the genus Lagopus, inhabiting arctic, subarctic, and alpine regions of the Northern Hemisphere and having feathered legs and feet and plumage that is brown or gray in summer and white in winter.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any of three species of small grouse in the genus Lagopus found in subarctic tundra areas of North America and Eurasia.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Any grouse of the genus Lagopus, of which numerous species are known. The feet are completely feathered. Most of the species are brown in summer, but turn white, or nearly white, in winter.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A bird of the family Tetraonidæ and genus Lagopus, having feathered feet.

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

  • n. large Arctic and subarctic grouse with feathered feet and usually white winter plumage


Alteration (influenced by the spelling pt in Greek words like pteron, wing) of Scottish Gaelic tarmachan.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Scottish Gaelic tàrmachan. The pt- comes from a mistaken Greek construction. (Wiktionary)



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  • However, the spelling could not be agreed on and Chicken was used to avoid embarrassment.

    On Chicken, Alaska

    July 11, 2009

  • An utterly pointless <p>, by confusion with Greek pter-, to which it is completely unrelated. It's from Scots Gaelic tàrmachan, itself of unclear origin.

    July 10, 2009

  • /ˈtɑrmɪgən/

    July 10, 2009