Definition of magpie in English:


Pronunciation /ˈmaɡˌpī/ /ˈmæɡˌpaɪ/

Translate magpie into Spanish


  • 1A long-tailed crow with boldly marked (or green) plumage and a raucous voice.

    Family Corvidae: five genera and several species, in particular the black-and-white Pica pica of Eurasia and North America

    ‘The corvines - crows, rooks, jays, magpies and jackdaws - are relentless stealers of other birds' eggs and chicks.’
    • ‘Long-eared Owls usually nest in abandoned stick nests, often the nests of magpies, crows, ravens, or hawks.’
    • ‘The brain-to-body ratio of crows, ravens and magpies equals that of dolphins and nearly matches humans.’
    • ‘He said the proliferation of Corvids birds like grey crows, magpies and rooks could be directly linked to the decline in songbirds in the area.’
    • ‘Just 40 metres away was the lynx, sharing its meal with some noisy magpies.’
    • ‘There are 113 members of the avian family called Corvidae, or corvids, which includes crows, jackdaws, rooks, ravens, as well as jays, nutcrackers and magpies.’
    • ‘The campus, which was once a barren patch of land, was converted into a haven for magpies and robins and blue jays in a short span of 30 years.’
    • ‘Chit-chat - keep talking to your baby about what you see and hear as you walk along, anything from the noisy bus to the magpies squabbling in the trees.’
    • ‘A pair of long-tailed magpies is building a nest in the trees along the millstream that runs down from the hills and through town.’
    • ‘Like jays and crows, their cousins, magpies are mischievous and bold.’
    • ‘In learning to escape the vigilance of crows, birds also avoid the attention of some other predators, such as jays and magpies.’
    • ‘Driving through farmland you will come across a variety of wildlife including spur winged plovers, white faced herons, and magpies playing roadside roulette and taunting cyclists.’
    • ‘Netting unless very well put on the trees prove no good as the clever jackdaw or cheeky magpie can get in with ease in the smallest opening.’
    • ‘There was the occasional chatter of magpies or jays, and once the bobbing flight of a greater spotted woodpecker.’
    • ‘Some kind of magpie was chattering from the cherry trees, sounding like a child's imitation of a machine gun.’
    • ‘Mr Fletcher said that a number of people had been caught keeping wild birds, particularly finches and magpies, as pets.’
    • ‘A sudden flash of ebony and ivory caused me to scream shrilly without intention as the bird, a magpie, flew directly at my exposed face!’
    • ‘All around the greedy jackjaws, blackbirds, thrushes and magpies eye the ripening fruit and at the exact moment that the fruit ripens they pounce leaving nothing but pips.’
    • ‘If we do not get magpies under better control the damage they do to other birds eggs and newly-hatched chicks will continue.’
    • ‘With the exception of magpies and pigeons, birds are rarely seen in gardens, but the talk included pictures of all kinds of birds in their natural habitats.’
  • 2Used in similes or comparisons to refer to a person who collects things, especially things of little use or value, or a person who chatters idly.

    ‘his father was a garrulous old man who chattered like a magpie’
    • ‘he would carry these documents home to appease his secretive magpie instinct’
    • ‘The Eameses were magpie collectors of Americana - toys, tools, quilts, cotton reels, primitive paintings - and this love affair shines through their short films.’
    • ‘They are very far from being traditional; they are magpie collectors of everything that might suit them, and that includes rhetoric.’
    • ‘We are living in a society based on the concept of ownership; a magpie culture.’
    • ‘The things inside came from Rayburn's magpie collection of boxes, art supplies and flea-market treasures, and they were arranged to suggest the way they'd once been stashed in his studio.’
    • ‘The colourful packaging, all purples and pinks, should appeal to your magpie tendencies, while the actual products - eau de toilette, bath crystals and more - will not disappoint.’
    • ‘Yet if Paolozzi's work was the result of the brilliant deconstructions and recontextualisations of a magpie mind, at its heart lay simple draughtsmanship, a natural engagement with beauty.’
    • ‘He was the human sampling machine, selling millions of records and drawing degree-level analysis from critics impressed by his magpie eclecticism and arch intelligence.’
    • ‘This suggests that Scotland's best hope lies in the evolution of a creative magpie cuisine that draws on diverse culinary influences, tempered by the realisation that less is more.’
    • ‘It was Jo Gordon's trademark Dr Who scarves that first aroused the magpie eyes of the UK fashion pack three years ago, sounding the first death knell for the soppy pashmina.’
    • ‘I managed to avert my eyes in the Christmas decorations section - they're just so sparkly, you see… my magpie tendencies cannot resist.’
    • ‘The Ding Foundation is the squirrel and magpie of the theatre world - collecting and rescuing abandoned objects, and all the debris and detritus of other people's lives, and animating them in order to tell stories.’
    • ‘In a nursing home herself, with the help of a retired schoolteacher, she rewrote her entire memoir and added it to her massive magpie stack of letters, clippings, essays, and keepsakes.’
    • ‘English prides itself on being the magpie language, freely picking up foreign words to incorporate into its flexible vocabulary.’
    • ‘For the rest of his long, innovative and hugely prolific career, he drew inspiration from the comics, novelties, magazines, toys and cheap novelettes collected over the years with magpie insatiability.’
    • ‘Which isn't to say that their music is entirely created by others - but it is a collaborative, magpie process, drawing on the talents of remixers as much as their own restless experiments with samplers and computer programs.’
    • ‘Together, they form a visual diary of his trips, containing thousands of photographs, ephemera, pages from magazines and newspapers - anything that catches Galliano's magpie eye.’
    • ‘The exquisite but inexpensive jewellery acts like a magnet to magpie wives and their pleased husbands who can finally afford ‘something really nice’ in the cheap displays.’
    • ‘While clearly inspired by a Romantic sensibility, he is never quite free from the bonds of his precise, inquiring, magpie mind.’
    • ‘Such are the artist's magpie tendencies that one of the reasons he chose his flat in Leith was that it afforded him a view of a scrapyard.’
    • ‘The better-known Salsa Celtica also stood out amongst the crop of musical magpies, playing to a jam-packed Fruitmarket and augmenting their Cuban sound with pipes and fiddles following the lead of the brass section and keyboards.’


Late 16th century probably shortening of dialect maggot the pie, maggoty-pie, from Magot(Middle English pet form of the given name Marguerite) + pie.