from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Same as whore's-bird.
  • noun A wasp.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • "Imp'dent old wosbird!" says he; "I'll break the bald head on un to the truth."

    Tom Brown's Schooldays

  • Dang un! "cried the keeper, while Tom roared," he's a lissum wosbird, that I 'ool say, but I'll be up sides wi' he next time I sees un.

    Tom Brown at Oxford


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  • (noun) - (1) A term of reproach, the meaning of which appears to be unknown to those who use it. It is evidently a corruption of whore's-bird, to which it must be added that bird in Old English and Anglo-Saxon means birth, and hence offspring, progeny; or the Old English burd, bride, young woman, in which case the term means a bastard daughter. Either way, it comes to much the same, and the term was easily generalized.

    --William Cope's Glossary of Hampshire Words and Phrases, 1883

    (2) Whore is the past participle of Anglo-Saxon hynan, to hire. The word means simply someone, anyone, hired. It was formerly written without the w.

    --John Tooke's Diversions of Purley, 1840

    (3) Wasbird, a wartime phrase used of any elderly man eager to enlist.

    --Edward Fraser's Soldier and Sailor Words and Phrases, 1925

    (4) Used also of children and occasionally of animals.

    --Joseph Wright's English Dialect Dictionary, 1898-1905

    January 16, 2018