Definition of buzzard in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈbʌzəd/


1A large hawklike bird of prey with broad wings and a rounded tail, often seen soaring in wide circles.
  • Family Accipitridae: several genera, in particular Buteo, and including the common (Eurasian) buzzard (B. buteo).
Example sentences
  • Among birds of prey, buzzards and hawks of the genus Buteo are an extremely successful group that is widely distributed, being absent only in Australia, Antarctica, and most parts of the oriental region.
  • In the barn (one of only a handful that have not been developed in the locality) there are nesting pairs of barn owls, and sparrow hawks, while buzzards and peregrine falcons are regular visitors to the woods.
  • After owls, U.K. government figures identify kestrels, common buzzards, and peregrine falcons as other raptors most likely to end up as roadkill.
2North American A vulture, especially a turkey vulture.
Example sentences
  • In an ironic foreshadowing of a pivotal courtroom scene that will put Janie at the mercy of human vultures, the hungry buzzards focus on the ‘yaller’ mule.
  • The common buzzard bears little resemblance to the vulture (not shown), which is a buzzard in nicknameonly.
  • Her husband developed congestive heart failure and experienced frequent hallucinations while in the hospital, including an especially haunting mirage of buzzards circling above him.


Late Middle English: from Old French busard, based on Latin buteo 'falcon'.

  • Old French busard is the source, based on Latin būteō ‘falcon’. The buzzard was considered an inferior kind of hawk which was useless for falconry; this led, apparently, to its use as a derogatory description of an ignorant or stupid person. The force weakened over time and the phrase old buzzard may convey nothing more than ‘old chap’. In dialect a buzzard is sometimes ‘a moth’ or ‘cockchafer’ but this word is based on buzz, a late Middle English word based on the sound.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: buz|zard

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