Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Any of various Old World passerine birds of the family Sturnidae, characteristically having a short tail, pointed wings, and dark, often iridescent plumage, especially Sturnus vulgaris, widely naturalized in North America.
  • n. A protective structure of pilings surrounding a pier of a bridge.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A gregarious passerine bird, of the family Sturnidae, having dark, iridescent plumage
  • n. A structure of pilings that protects the piers of a bridge
  • n. A California fish; the rock trout.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Any passerine bird belonging to Sturnus and allied genera. The European starling (Sturnus vulgaris) is dark brown or greenish black, with a metallic gloss, and spotted with yellowish white. It is a sociable bird, and builds about houses, old towers, etc. Called also stare, and starred. The pied starling of India is Sternopastor contra.
  • n. A California fish; the rock trout.
  • n. A structure of piles driven round the piers of a bridge for protection and support; -- called also sterling.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An oscine passerine bird, of the family Sturnidæ and genus Sturnus, as S. vulgaris of Europe.
  • n. One of a breed of domestic pigeons which in color resemble the starling.
  • n. Same as rock-trout,2.
  • n. In hydraulic engineering, an inclosure like a coffer-dam, formed of piles driven closely together, before any work or structure as a protection against the wash of the waves.
  • n. One of the piles used in forming such a breakwater.
  • n. An obsolete form of sterling.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. gregarious birds native to the Old World

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old English stærlinc : stær, starling + -linc, noun suff.; see -ling1.
Perhaps alteration of Middle English stadelinge, from stathel, foundation, from Old English stathol; see stā- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old English stærlinc, from stær ("starling") + -linc ("dimunitive suffix") (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • "Anyone who thinks a starling is a pest just don't know anything about how a starling thinks" or something like that.

    More Than Human

  • We know, in fact, that the starling is our greatest mimic, and that he often succeeds in recognizable reproductions of single notes, of phrases, and occasionally of entire songs, as, for instance, that of the blackbird.

    A Shepherd's Life Impressions of the South Wiltshire Downs

  • The starling was the most common bird spotted around schools until 2009 when it was knocked off by the blackbird.

    Telegraph.co.uk - Telegraph online, Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph

  • A starling is a bird common to temperate climates here and in Asia.

    WN.com - Articles related to Darwin showed interest in Indian biodiversity: Book

  • Accordingly, the Pithamarda should bring the man to her house, under the pretence of seeing the fights of quails, cocks, and rams, of hearing the mania (a kind of starling) talk, or of seeing some other spectacle, or the practice of some art; or he may take the woman to the abode of the man.

    The Kama Sutra of Vatsyayana

  • In such cases the girl “should bring him to her house under the pretence of seeing the fights of quails, cocks and rams, of hearing the maina (a kind of starling) talk .... she should also amuse him for a long time by telling him such stories and doing such things as he may take most delight in.”

    The Life of Sir Richard Burton

  • In such cases the girl "should bring him to her house under the pretence of seeing the fights of quails, cocks and rams, of hearing the maina (a kind of starling) talk .... she should also amuse him for a long time by telling him such stories and doing such things as he may take most delight in."

    The Life of Sir Richard Burton

  • Accordingly, the Pithamarda should bring the man to her house, under the pretence of seeing the fights of quails, cocks, and rams, of hearing the maina (a kind of starling) talk, or of seeing some other spectacle, or the practice of some art; or he may take the woman to the abode of the man.

    The Kama Sutra of Vatsyayana Translated From The Sanscrit In Seven Parts With Preface, Introduction and Concluding Remarks

  • The birds we had seen hitherto consisted chiefly of prairie chicken, lark, snipe, and a small kind of starling that was continuously swarming around us, and was so tame that it would at times sit on our pack animals while on the march.

    A JOURNEY TO THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS IN 1839

  • I mean spread the left hand and shake the right high up, and thump with the left heel, and it means, “Anyone who thinks a starling is a pest just don’t know anything about how a starling thinks” or something like that.

    Science Fiction Hall of Fame

Comments

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  • From By Hook or By Crook by David Crystal: "It is from Old English, steor + ling, 'spotted'. In the eighteenth century, two men who slept with the same woman were said to be brother-starlings. In the nineteenth century, the police used to refer to someone under surveillance as a starling – a person who had been 'spotted', a 'marked man'." (p 81)

    December 15, 2008