Definitions

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

  • n. Any of various carnivorous oscine birds of the family Laniidae, having a screeching call and a strong hooked bill with a toothlike projection and often impaling its prey on sharp-pointed thorns or barbs of wire fencing.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any of various passerine birds of the family Laniidae which are known for their habit of catching other birds and small animals and impaling the uneaten portions of their bodies on thorns.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Any one of numerous species of oscinine birds of the family Laniidæ, having a strong hooked bill, toothed at the tip. Most shrikes are insectivorous, but the common European gray shrike (Lanius excubitor), the great northern shrike (L. borealis), and several others, kill mice, small birds, etc., and often impale them on thorns, and are, on that account called also butcher birds. See under butcher.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An obsolete form of shriek.
  • n. A dentirostral oscine passerine bird of the family Laniidæ, having a notably strong hooked and toothed bill, and of actively predaceous nature; a butcher-bird; a nine-killer; a Wood-chat.
  • n. One of many different birds that resemble shrikes, or were held to belong to the genus Lanius.

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

  • n. any of numerous Old World birds having a strong hooked bill that feed on smaller animals

Etymologies

Probably from Middle English *shrik, from Old English scrīc, thrush.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • Sometimes we would carry 500 lb bombs, sometimes 750 lb bombs, sometimes 1000 lb bombs, and other times 3000 lb bombs as well as CBU and what they call a shrike missile.

    Pilots in Pajamas - Part 5

  • She looked around: the kanji composition that he had received from Philip Yano hung on one wall and on the other was a brush painting of a bird called a shrike sitting on a twisted piece of limb.

    A Bob Lee Swagger eBook Boxed Set

  • Still more melodious is the call of the wood-shrike, which is frequently heard at this season, and indeed during the greater part of the year.

    A Bird Calendar for Northern India

  • The shrike is his worst enemy, the swift swoop of his cruel beak being always fatal in a flock of chickadees.

    Ways of Wood Folk

  • Probably it is because the shrike is a rare visitant, and is not found in this part of the country during the nesting season of our songsters.

    Birds and Bees, Sharp Eyes and Other Papers

  • That's possible, but I've never heard anyone in the South call a shrike a catbird.

    The Berkeley Daily Planet, The East Bay's Independent Newspaper

  • All these creatures, he informed them, were placed there by the bird which François had shot, and which was no other than the "shrike" or "butcher-bird" -- a name by which it is more familiarly known, and which it receives from the very habit they had just observed.

    Popular Adventure Tales

  • All these creatures, he informed them, were placed there by the bird which Francois had shot, and which was no other than the "shrike" (_Lanius_) or "butcher-bird" -- a name by which it is more familiarly known, and which it receives from the very habit they had just observed.

    The Young Voyageurs Boy Hunters in the North

  • We usually English the word by “nightingale;” but it is a kind of shrike or butcher-bird (Lanius Boulboul.

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • The Ethiopian boubou's other common name, the bell shrike, is in honour of its courtship song, a duet that both the male and female sing.

    Mystery bird: Ethiopian boubou, Laniarius aethiopicus

Comments

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  • Now *that's* a scary word.

    July 14, 2007

  • Oh I like the word anyway, Hyperion hasn't ruined it for me, but I am scared of the Shrike.

    I just typoed and realized that it's only 1 inversion away from shriek.

    July 14, 2007

  • I've always liked this word--even though the actual shrike itself can seem rather ghoulish, it is nothing like that of Hyperion!

    July 13, 2007

  • This word has scared the shit out me ever since I read Hyperion.

    July 13, 2007