Definition of magpie in English:

Share this entry

magpie

Pronunciation: /ˈmaɡˌpī/

noun

Image of magpie
1A long-tailed crow with boldly marked (or green) plumage and a raucous voice.
Example sentences
  • The corvines - crows, rooks, jays, magpies and jackdaws - are relentless stealers of other birds' eggs and chicks.
  • Long-eared Owls usually nest in abandoned stick nests, often the nests of magpies, crows, ravens, or hawks.
  • The brain-to-body ratio of crows, ravens and magpies equals that of dolphins and nearly matches humans.
2Used in similes or comparisons to refer to a person who collects things, especially things of little use or value, or a person who chatters idly.
Example sentences
  • The Eameses were magpie collectors of Americana - toys, tools, quilts, cotton reels, primitive paintings - and this love affair shines through their short films.
  • They are very far from being traditional; they are magpie collectors of everything that might suit them, and that includes rhetoric.
  • We are living in a society based on the concept of ownership; a magpie culture.

Origin

Late 16th century: probably shortening of dialect maggot the pie, maggoty-pie, from Magot (Middle English nickname for the given name Marguerite) + pie2.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: mag·pie

Share this entry
 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.