from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. the European green woodpecker, Picus viridis

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The European green woodpecker (Picus viridis syn. Genius viridis). It is noted for its loud laughlike note. Called also eccle, hewhole, highhoe, laughing bird, popinjay, rain bird, yaffil, yaffler, yaffingale, yappingale, yackel, and woodhack.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The green woodpecker, Gecinus viridis: from its loud laughing notes. Also yaffil, yaffler, yaffingale. See cut under popinjay.
  • n. An armful.
  • n. A pile of codfish to be carried from the flakes to the storehouse.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • If a corpse be kept over a Sunday another death will occur before the week is out; should a big bumble-bee enter the window, a guest may be expected; and when the woodpecker, commonly called the yaffle, laughs, they say the rain is coming.

    English Villages

  • I might start using it in my ESL classes so that a new generation of Koreans will know the proper English terminology for an 'armful of something' is a 'yaffle'.

    Cockles, no Mussels, Alive, Alive, O

  • Behind the hill, behind the trees, the green woodpecker – the yaffle – shouts his mocking, laugh-like call which in country weather lore is a sure sign of rain.

    Country diary: Wenlock Edge

  • Green-yellow, bursts from the copse the laughing yaffle;

    Love in the Valley

  • From above the hedges the sleepy cows looked down; a yaffle laughed a field or two away; in the sycamores, which had come out before their time, the bees hummed.

    Complete Project Gutenberg John Galsworthy Works

  • a rattle, what a yaffle — as they call the woodpecker, the laughing bird that flits from tree to tree.

    Between the Acts


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  • Like chickpea, garbanzo, falafel,

    The bird and its many names baffle.

    Is it more fun to say

    He’s a smug popinjay

    Than a hewhole, a high-hoe or yaffle?

    May 17, 2015

  • "The sharp cry of a woodpecker—the kind Jamie called a yaffle—echoed deep in the woods and then fell silent."

    —Diana Gabaldon, The Fiery Cross (NY: Bantam Dell, 2001), 165

    January 19, 2010

  • rainbird

    December 2, 2008

  • The Formative Minds

    are at it again -

    exchanging sterile

    platitudes, students

    sip Pils, wear daft clothes.

    One of them yaffles

    in gormless Scotch tones

    treating of ball games

    and cheeky rude pranks -

    he's a fun person.

    - Peter Reading, 5x5x5x5x5, 1983

    July 4, 2008

  • Also a Newfoundland word describing a pile of seal pelts stacked to be dragged back to the ship.

    December 10, 2007

  • I think it aptly describes that goofy little crest some woodpeckers have. ;-)

    September 14, 2007

  • lovely!

    September 14, 2007

  • The Green Woodpecker, Picus viridis, from Europe and western Asia. See also: popinjay.

    September 14, 2007