• A white-crowned sparrow next to a nest containing two eggs
    A white-crowned sparrow next to a nest containing two eggs
  • WordNet 3.6
    • n sparrow small brownish European songbird
    • n sparrow any of several small dull-colored singing birds feeding on seeds or insects
    • ***

Additional illustrations & photos:

First Cock Sparrow First Cock Sparrow
Dissection of the English sparrow Dissection of the English sparrow
Western chipping sparrow Western chipping sparrow

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: The most frequently seen birds at feeders across North America last winter were the Dark-eyed Junco, House Finch and American goldfinch, along with downy woodpeckers, blue jays, mourning doves, black-capped chickadees, house sparrows, northern cardinals and european starlings.
    • Sparrow (Zoöl) Any one of several small singing birds somewhat resembling the true sparrows in form or habits, as the European hedge sparrow. See under Hedge. "He that doth the ravens feed,
      Yea, providently caters for the sparrow ,
      Be comfort to my age!"
    • Sparrow (Zoöl) One of many species of small singing birds of the family Fringilligæ, having conical bills, and feeding chiefly on seeds. Many sparrows are called also finches, and buntings. The common sparrow, or house sparrow, of Europe (Passer domesticus) is noted for its familiarity, its voracity, its attachment to its young, and its fecundity. See House sparrow, under House.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n sparrow The housesparrow, Passer domesticus, a fringilline bird of Europe, which has been imported and naturalized in America, Australia, and other countries. It is about 6 inches long and 9⅓ in extent of wings. The upper parts of the male are ashy-gray, boldly streaked on the back with black and bay; there is a dark-chestnut or mahogany spot on each side of the neck; the lesser wing-coverts are chestnut; the median are tipped with white, forming a wing-bar; the greater coverts and inner secondaries have a black field bordered with gray; and the lower parts are ashy or gray, with jet-black on the throat, spreading on the breast, and bordered on the side of the neck with white. The female is similar, but more plainly feathered, lacking the distinctive head-markings of the male. The sparrow is a conirostral granivorous bird, whose food is principally seeds and grain, yet it has been introduced in many countries for the purpose of destroying noxious insects. It is extremely hardy, pugnacious, and prolific, rearing several large broods annually. Of all birds the sparrow naturally attaches itself most closely to man, and easily modifies its habits to suit artificial conditions of environment. It is thus one of several animals. as rats, mice, and other vermin, well fitted to survive under whatever conditions man may offer or enforce; hence it wins in competition with the native birds of the foreign countries where It naturalizes, without as readily developing counteractive agencies to check its increase. It speedily becomes a pest wherever introduced, and seldom destroys noxious insects to any appreciable extent. It was brought into the United States from Germany about 1869, and is now probably more numerous than any single native bird. In New York city thousands of sparrows are sold and eaten as reed-birds. See cut under Passer.
    • n sparrow Some or any fringilline bird resembling the sparrow, as Passer montanus, the tree-sparrow; one of various finches and buntings, mostly of plain coloration. In the United States the name is given, with a qualifying word, to very many small sparrow-like birds, mostly of homely streaked coloration. Chipping or field-sparrows belong to the genus Spizella; crown-sparrows to Zonotrichia; fox-sparrows to Passerella; grasshopper-sparrows to Coturniculus; the grass-sparrow to Poœcetes; the lark-sparrow to Chondestes; sage-sparrows to Amphispiza; savanna-sparrows to Passerculus; seaside sparrows to Ammodromus; snow-sparrows to Junco; song-sparrows to Melospiza. See cuts under Chondestes, Coturniculus, Embernagra, field-sparrow, grassfinch, sage-sparrow, savanna-sparrow, snowbird, and song-sparrow.
    • n sparrow Some little bird likened to or mistaken for a sparrow. Thus, the hedge-sparrow is the hedge-chanter, Accentor modularis, and some other warblers are loosely called sparrows.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Sparrow spar′ō an Old World genus of birds of fringilline family
    • ***


  • Alfred A. Montapert
    “Happy is the person who not only sings, but feels God's eye is on the sparrow, and knows He watches over me. To be simply ensconced in God is true joy.”
  • Eric Berne
    Eric Berne
    “The moment the little boy is concerned with which is a jay and which is a sparrow, he can no longer see the birds or hear them sing.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OE. sparwe, AS. spearwa,; akin to OHG. sparo, G. sper,ling, Icel. spörr, Dan. spurv, spurre, Sw. sparf, Goth. sparwa,; -- originally, probably, the quiverer or flutterer, and akin to E. spurn,. See Spurn, and cf. Spavin
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
A.S. spearwa; Goth. sparwa, Ice. spörr, Ger. sper-ling.


In literature:

My idea is, to sent out the Sparrow-Hawk, being so fast a sailer.
"The Privateer's-Man" by Frederick Marryat
Then, just an hour ago, the boy had hit upon this scheme of baiting sparrows to their doom.
"Frank of Freedom Hill" by Samuel A. Derieux
Suddenly it unrolled its whole length, exposing to our view an unfortunate sparrow, which was still breathing.
"Adventures of a Young Naturalist" by Lucien Biart
Now note that yonder little sparrow is less skilled.
"Bird Stories from Burroughs" by John Burroughs
J. M. Sparrow, Clerk (still with us).
"Some Reminiscences of old Victoria" by Edgar Fawcett
The Sparrow Hawk is locally common in Coahuila.
"Birds from Coahuila, Mexico" by Emil K. Urban
Only the sparrows seemed indifferent to the cold.
"A Spoil of Office" by Hamlin Garland
One of my new acquaintances was a little bird which is known as the clay-colored sparrow.
"Our Bird Comrades" by Leander S. (Leander Sylvester) Keyser
Down again to sparrow-level and bring the glass to bear.
"The Log of the Sun" by William Beebe
One able man has called what I am referring to 'the doctrine of the odd sparrow'.
"Standards of Life and Service" by T. H. Howard

In poetry:

Fear me not, oh little sparrow,
Bathe and never fear,
For to me both pool and yarrow
And thyself are dear.
"A Re-Assurance" by Archibald Lampman
With what doubting eyes, oh sparrow,
Thou regardest me,
Underneath yon spray of yarrow,
Dipping cautiously.
"A Re-Assurance" by Archibald Lampman
Then all the happy children
Did call, and coax, and cry—
Each to his own mud-sparrow:
"Fly, as I bid you! Fly!"
"A Jewish Legend" by Elizabeth Stuart Phelps Ward
'I am,' he says his bankrupt creed:
'I am,' and is again a clod:
The sparrow starts, the grasses stir,
For he has said the name of God.
"Ultimate" by Gilbert Keith Chesterton
That thing he wrote, the time the sparrow died-
(Oh, most unpleasant- gloomy, tedious words!)
I called it sweet, and made believe I cried;
The stupid fool! I've always hated birds….
"From A Letter From Lesbia" by Dorothy Parker
I don't know what followed. Maybe
they kept raining down like stones; maybe
the silence was only inside;
maybe the sparrows were dust in the air,
stars, the black gloves of happiness,
the speech of God.
"E. At The Zocalo" by Ernesto Trejo

In news:

55-year-old Gregory Baker was a chemistry professor at Michigan State, and died overnight at Sparrow Hospital.
The most important part of the election is obviously, "Eye of the sparrow.".
Travis Thelen was admitted last Friday to Sparrow Hospital in Lansing.
Johnny Depp is known worldwide as the raucous, fun-loving, treasure-hunting pirate Jack Sparrow in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise.
Sparrow spent her career in banking at Calvert Bank.
The vessel, which is scheduled to arrive at the Sparrows Point, Md.
Savannah Sparrow, others may soon be split.
Belding's, Large-billed, and San Benito Sparrows.
She performed a vocal rendition of His Eye is on the Sparrow.
Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush are back as Jack Sparrow and Barbosa, with Penelope Cruz joining the cast as Jack Sparrow's love interest on a quest to find the Fountain of Youth.
Steven Curtis Chapman Title: re:creation Label: Sparrow.
Sparrow Records / Sixstepsrecords Album length: 11 tracks: 59 minutes, 49 seconds Street Date: July 12, 2011.
When celebrity chef Mario Batali visited Baltimore in April, he ate lunch at The Seasoned Mariner (601 Wise Ave, Dundalk, 443-242-7190) after hitting the links at Sparrows Point Country Club.
I was preparing to back the car out of the garage when I suddenly saw two sparrows swoop down and land on the edge of the cat's food bowl.
Lansing-based Sparrow Health System, Michigan State partner to create new pediatric referral service.

In science:

Sparrow C., The Lorenz equations: Bifurcations, Chaos, and Strange Attractors (Springer Verlag, New York) 1982. Harrison M.A. and Lai Y.C, Phys.
Direct transition to high-dimensional chaos through a global bifurcation
Sparrow, The Lorenz Equation:Bifurcations, Chaos and Strange Attractors (SpringerVerlag,Berlin,1982).
A simple method of chaos control
Sparrow, The Lorenz Equation: Bifurcations, Chaos, and Strange Attractors, Applied Mathematical Sciences 41 (Springer, New York, 1982).
Algorithmic Integrability Tests for Nonlinear Differential and Lattice Equations