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

  • noun Any of various songbirds of the family Thraupidae of the Americas, often having brightly colored plumage in the male.
  • noun Any of various similar birds of the family Cardinalidae, such as the scarlet tanager.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Some or any tanagrine bird; a member of the Tanagridæ.
  • noun Any finch of the genus Paroaria.

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

  • noun (Zoöl.) Any one of numerous species of bright-colored singing birds belonging to Tanagra, Piranga, and allied genera. The scarlet tanager (Piranga erythromelas) and the summer redbird (Piranga rubra) are common species of the United States.

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

  • noun Any of several American passerine birds, of the family Thraupidae, that inhabit forests.

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

  • noun any of numerous New World woodland birds having brightly colored males


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

[New Latin tanagra, alteration of Portuguese tangará, from Tupí tanagorá.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From New Latin Tanagra, from Portuguese tangara, from Old Tupi tangara.



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  • a western tanager flew by our breakfast table this morning. exquisite coloring!

    May 17, 2010

  • That's the sort of event which is worthy of a like button. Not sure how it would fit into Facebook's marketing strategy, but I'm sure they'll find a way.

    May 17, 2010

  • What's with the spike in tanager use around 1880?

    May 17, 2010

  • The spike in the usage in 1880 may be associated with the opening of the railroads in the Western United States and elsewhere. These birds with their flashiness might have caused a spike in usage as they were more noticed than before as railroads traveled into their habitats....just a conjecture

    May 17, 2010

  • Ruzuzu is very perceptive. I made the comment about the tanager because it struck me as both exotic (literally means from a foreign country) and after noting the twitters on wordnik's tanager page with several twits from the same locale I'm in - Albuquerque. We are the ones from a foreign locale, not the tanager. We don't fully undastand - unda is latin for wave - the repercussions of these new communication tools we are using. Its heartening to have fellow peregrines such as Ruzuzu and Bilby to point out these ripples. It is wren-ching.

    May 17, 2010

  • Thanks, fbharjo! You inspire your own raptor rapture.

    May 17, 2010