Definition of catbird in English:

catbird

Syllabification: cat·bird
Pronunciation: /ˈkatˌbərd
 
/

noun

  • 1A long-tailed American songbird of the mockingbird family, with mainly dark gray or black plumage and catlike calls.
    • Two genera and species, family Mimidae, in particular the gray catbird (Dumetella carolinensis) of North America
    More example sentences
    • Not only is the Cape flush with cardinals, towhees, mockingbirds, catbirds, goldfinches and woodpeckers, its birds of the shore entice many a visitor here.
    • We saw lots of catbirds, blackbirds, mockingbirds, cardinals, crows, and grackles.
    • Although first cousin to the melodious mockingbird, a catbird's song is seldom musical.
  • 2A thickset Australasian bird of the bowerbird family, typically with a loud call like a yowling cat. It does not generally construct bowers.
    • Genus Ailuroedus (and Scenopoeetes), family Ptilonorhynchidae: several species, in particular the green catbird (A. crassirostris)

Phrases

in the catbird seat

North American informal In a superior or advantageous position.
[said to be an allusion to a baseball player in the fortunate position of having no strikes and therefore three balls still to play (a reference made in James Thurber's short story "The Catbird Seat")]
More example sentences
  • For several years, design professionals sat in the catbird seat, able to parlay personnel shortages in a boom market into significant pay and benefit packages.
  • They enjoy being in the catbird seat, perched at a high elevation, with a commanding view of a vast expanse of open air, high above the landmass below.
  • ‘Michael wants to know how the view is up there in the catbird seat,’ Norris replied.

More definitions of catbird

Definition of catbird in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day mage
Pronunciation: meɪdʒ
noun
a magician or learned person