from The Century Dictionary.

  • To utter the notes of the chiff-chaff.
  • noun A common European bird of the subfamily Sylviinæ or warblers, the Sylvia hippolais (Latham), S. rufa (Bechstein), now Phylloscopus rufus: a near relative of the willow-warbler and wood-warbler, which it much resembles.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Zoöl.) A species of European warbler (Sylvia hippolais); -- called also chip-chap, and pettychaps.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


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  • People skim those ‘chiff-chaff’ little notes and forget them the next moment.

    The Silver Spoon 2004

  • During the five years I spent at school at Bradfield I would usually, towards the end of March, receive a postcard from him saying simply, 'I have heard the chiff-chaff.'

    The Girl In A Swing Adams, Richard, 1920- 1980

  • (And there's a chiff-chaff, soft, and slim, and brown.)

    The Verse-Book of a Homely Woman Fay Inchfawn

  • (And there's a chiff-chaff, soft, and slim, and brown.)

    The verse-book of a homely woman 1920

  • I do not want an explanation of a thrush's song or a nightingale's, but why does a silly bird go on saying "chiff-chaff" all day long?

    If I May 1919

  • Laugh! cries the chiff-chaff all day long, careless of elaboration if he can give his message, effectually cutting the silence with his two small notes like silver shears.

    The Spring of Joy: A Little Book of Healing 1917

  • I have an uneasy feeling that all last year the chiff-chaff was asking himself why I wrote every day.

    If I May 1919

  • Indeed, I think, perhaps, it would have been wiser of me to have left the chiff-chaff out of it altogether.

    If I May 1919

  • In every tree in the garden a thrush woke up and began to sing; sparrows chirped, jays screamed, blue-tits chattered, and the chiff-chaff uttered his strange note.

    The Sleeping Beauty Arthur Rackham 1913

  • Listen to the chiff-chaff ingeminating the familiar unchanging call and message of spring.

    A Traveller in Little Things 1881


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