Word curio icon

Word Curio

March 8, 2018

Word of the Day: Bird-dog

1 CQ

Word of the Day : March 8, 2018

bird-dog \BERD-dawg\ verb


1 : to watch closely

2 : to seek out : follow, detect

Did You Know?

People began using bird-dog as a verb meaning "to closely watch someone or something" or "to doggedly seek out someone or something" in the early 20th century. Both meanings reflect skills likely to be possessed by a well-trained bird dog—that is, a hunting dog trained to hunt or retrieve birds. By the 1930s, bird-dogging was being used specifically as a term for stealing someone else's date. And, not long after that, it began to be used for the scouting out of customers or prospective talent. The noun bird dog refers to the canines one would expect, and is also used as a name for the date stealers and scouts who do the bird-dogging.

Learn a new word every day, delivered to your inbox!

Test Your Vocabulary

  New Words 2018 Quiz

    The word embiggen (“to make bigger or more expansive”) began to be used in what decade?


    Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

    Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Aired March 8, 2018

All Merriam-Webster content is available at

  • Recommended Recommended
  • History & In Progress History
  • Browse Library
  • Most Popular Library

Get Personalized Recommendations

Let us help you figure out what to learn! By taking a short interview you’ll be able to specify your learning interests and goals, so we can recommend the perfect courses and lessons to try next.

Start Interview

You don't have any lessons in your history.
Just find something that looks interesting and start learning!

500 characters max