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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Tanager \Tan"a*ger\, n. [NL. tanagra, probably fr. Brazilian tangara.] (Zo["o]l.) Any one of numerous species of bright-colored singing birds belonging to Tanagra, Piranga, and allied genera. The scarlet tanager ( Piranga erythromelas) and the summer redbird ( Piranga rubra) are common species of the United States.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

small American oscine bird, 1844, earlier tanagra (1610s), from Modern Latin tanagra, alteration of Portuguese tangara, from Tupi (Brazil) tangara, a bird name of uncertain meaning.


n. Any of several American passerine birds, of the family Thraupidae, that inhabit forests.


n. any of numerous New World woodland birds having brightly colored males


The tanagers (singular ) comprise the bird family Thraupidae, in the order Passeriformes. The family has an American distribution. The Thraupidae are the second-largest family of birds and represent about 4% of all avian species and 12% of the Neotropical birds. Traditionally, about 240 species of tanagers were described, but the taxonomic treatment of this family's members is currently in a state of flux. As more of these birds are studied using modern molecular techniques, some genera are expected to be relocated elsewhere. Already, species in the genera Euphonia and Chlorophonia, which were once considered part of the tanager family, are now treated as members of Fringillidae, in their own subfamily ( Euphoniinae). Likewise, the genera Piranga (which includes the scarlet tanager, summer tanager, and western tanager), Chlorothraupis, and Habia appear to be members of the cardinal family, and have been reassigned to that family by the American Ornithologists' Union.

Tanager (disambiguation)

Tanager is a family of birds. It may also refer to:

  • Bay-headed tanager
  • Hepatic tanager
  • Passerini's tanager
  • Summer tanager
  • Scarlet tanager
  • Spotted tanager
  • Western tanager
  • etc. - about 900 articles - see :Category:Tanagers
  • Curtiss Tanager
  • Tanager Expedition (1923–1924)
Military operations
  • Operation Tanager – Australia's contribution to the United Nations Mission of Support to East Timor (UNMISET)
  • Tanager (river)
  • USS Tanager
  • USS Tanager (AM-5)
  • USS Tanager (AM-385)

Usage examples of "tanager".

Chestnut Street, stopping in front of the two-storied, green-shuttered white frame house on which Tanager still owed more money than he liked to think about.

The thin little buttocks gleamed whitely in the glare of flash bulbs, and Tanager remembered that Agnes would sleep on her stomach in just that way with her tiny rear projected heavenward.

Sergeant Hyde to help, and Tanager turned to the beat cop who was holding back a growing group of spectators who had been attracted by the lights.

A small, quick-moving man with slender hands and snapping black eyes, he brought to his work a greater devotion than any man Tanager had ever known.

PUSHED THE buzzer on his desk and Sergeant Hyde put his head in at the door with one eyebrow raised and Tanager nodded.

For Price, Tanager had a measure of respect as an official and a certain, somewhat quizzical liking as a man.

He understood, too, that the chief had spoken up in part to establish his authority over Tanager even while he was openly ducking this one.

Brady and Dahl were waiting for Tanager when he returned to his office.

Ed Tanager got home, hours later, Catherine was in bed, pretending, he was certain, to be asleep.

These three were recent pick-ups and Tanager was inclined to believe that those men who had been detained during the time of the assault on the Dubois child were necessarily innocent of the Hadley murder.

No careful folding this time, and Tanager remembered grimly what the prison board psychiatrist had said in his analysis of the murderer.

Norris moved in while Tanager stood aside, hands thrust deep into his pockets.

Talking to Tanager a few minutes later those features were set in a glowering frown.

One of the two men had said something in an aside to his companion as they passed Tanager and the two of them had laughed.

HOURS FROM THE time he had left his office to go to the River Street bar with detective Dahl, Tanager sat again at his desk.