Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Acronyms, Idioms, Wikipedia.


common name of various small brown-and-gray perching birds. New World birds called sparrows are members of the finchfinch,
common name for members of the Fringillidae, the largest family of birds (including over half the known species), found in most parts of the world except Australia.
..... Click the link for more information.
 family. They were named for their resemblance to the English sparrowEnglish sparrow
or house sparrow,
small bird, Passer domesticus, common throughout most of the world. English sparrows are 4 to 7 in. (10–18 cm) long, with short, stout bills.
..... Click the link for more information.
 and the European tree sparrow (members of the weaverbirdweaverbird,
name for the Ploceidae, a family of Old World seed-eating birds closely resembling finches (hence the alternate name weaver finch). It includes a number of so-called goldfinches and waxbill finches that are actually weaverbirds, rather than true finches of the family
..... Click the link for more information.
 family), both introduced in the Americas. Members of both groups have stout, conical beaks adapted to seed eating. Among the many sparrows found in the United States are the song sparrow, the white-throated sparrow (or peabody bird), and the chipping, white-crowned, vesper, Lincoln's, fox, field, tree, and swamp sparrows. Sparrows are valuable to farmers in destroying weed seeds. Originally sparrow meant any small bird; the word appears in this sense in Greek mythology and in the Scriptures.


See study by J. D. Summers-Smith (1988).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.


1. any weaverbird of the genus Passer and related genera, esp the house sparrow, having a brown or grey plumage and feeding on seeds or insects
2. US and Canadian any of various North American finches, such as the chipping sparrow (Spizella passerina), that have a dullish streaked plumage
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in classic literature ?
"Let them hunt their white sparrows in the Sacramento islands and the irrigation valleys.
Long-time volunteer John Brown said "we couldn't believe our luck" when they caught and ringed the first pair of tree sparrows.
Sparrows have become scarce in modern times for a variety of reasons.
The sparrow count has dropped across the state, and the decline seems most pronounced in Kottayam and Ernakulam districts.
That's why she finds herself manipulated into becoming the newest recruit for Sparrow School, a secret intelligence service that trains exceptional young people like her to use their bodies and minds as weapons.
"We have been building this custom hardware for a very long time," says Thach, "We are very excited about Sparrow because we have designed it based on years of experimenting with different configurations.
Throughout the story, Moon weaves expressive spoken and musical poetry, as these become keys to helping Sparrow find her voice.
Blom recaptured sagebrush sparrow #1601-07138 and reported banding information.
Unfortunately, the house sparrow is now a disappearing species.
The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow is a jolly good read fully of plucky characters determined to work together to ensure justice is done.
Sparrow International CEO Marc Hijazi said: "Having started with a very solid portfolio, we have rapidly strengthened our product range and established Sparrow International as a market leader.
It inevitably led to the decline of sparrow population in the state capital.