also lovebird, 1590s, small species of West African parrot, noted for the remarkable attention mating pairs pay to one another; figurative sense of "a lover" is attested from 1911.
Hold hands, you lovebirds. [Emil Sitka]
also blue-bird, North American warbler-like bird, 1680s, from blue (adj.1) in reference to the chief color of its plumage + bird (n.1). Figurative use in bluebird of happiness is from the 1909 play "l'Oiseau bleu," literally "The Blue Bird," by Belgian dramatist and poet Maurice Maeterlinck (1862-1949).
late 15c. (late 13c. as a surname), from black (adj.) + bird (n.1). Originally in reference to a large species of European thrush, the male of which is wholly black; applied in the New World to other similar birds. OED says they are so called for being the only "black" (really dark brown) bird among the songbirds, reflecting an older sense of bird that did not include rooks, crows, or ravens.
also mocking-bird, passerine bird of the southerly parts of the U.S., noted for the song of the males and its skill in imitation, 1670s (mock-bird is from 1640s), from present-participle adjective of mock (v.) + bird (n.1).
[I]t is the most famous songster of America, and is much prized as a cage-bird. Its proper song is of remarkable compass and variety, and besides this the bird has a wonderful range, being able to imitate almost any voice or even mere noises. [Century Dictionary]
Old English fugel "bird, feathered vertebrate," from Proto-Germanic *fuglaz, the general Germanic word for "bird" (source also of Old Saxon fugal, Old Frisian fugel, Old Norse fugl, Middle Dutch voghel, Dutch vogel, German vogel, Gothic fugls "a fowl, a bird"), perhaps a dissimilation of a word meaning literally "flyer," from PIE *pleuk-, from root *pleu- "to flow."
Displaced in its original sense by bird (n.); narrower sense of "barnyard hen or rooster" (the main modern meaning) is first recorded 1570s; in U.S. this was extended to domestic ducks and geese.
also cat-bird, 1731, common name for the North American thrush (Dumetella Carolinensis), related to the mockingbird, so called from its warning cry, which resembles the meowling of a cat; from cat (n.) + bird (n.1). "Its proper song is voluble, varied, and highly musical" [Century Dictionary].
Catbird seat is a late 19c. Dixieism, popularized by Brooklyn Dodgers baseball announcer Walter "Red" Barber (1908-1992) and by author James Thurber:
"She must be a Dodger fan," he had said. "Red Barber announces the Dodger games over the radio and he uses those expressions—picked 'em up down South." Joey had gone on to explain one or two. "Tearing up the pea patch" meant going on a rampage; "sitting in the catbird seat" means sitting pretty, like a batter with three balls and no strikes on him. [Thurber, "The Catbird Seat," The New Yorker, Nov. 14, 1942]
Old English wryhta, wrihta (Northumbrian wyrchta, Kentish werhta) "worker," variant of earlier wyhrta "maker," from wyrcan "to work" (see work (v.)). Now usually in combinations (wheelwright, playwright, etc.) or as a surname. A common West Germanic word; cognate with Old Saxon wurhito, Old Frisian wrichta, Old High German wurhto.
Smith was the general term for a worker in metals, and wright for one who worked in wood, and other materials. Hence, in the later English period, smith (which, in Anglo-Saxon, when used without any characteristic addition, was understood as applying more particularly to the worker in iron,) became the particular name of a blacksmith, and wright of a carpenter, as it is still in Scotland. [Thomas Wright, "Anglo-Saxon and Old English Vocabularies," 1884]
early 13c., from Old French figue "fig" (12c.), from Old Provençal figa, from Vulgar Latin *fica, corresponding to Latin ficus "fig tree, fig," which, with Greek sykon, Armenian t'uz is "prob. fr. a common Mediterranean source" [Buck], possibly a Semitic one (compare Phoenician pagh "half-ripe fig"). A reborrowing of a word that had been taken directly from Latin as Old English fic "fig, fig-tree."
The insulting sense of the word in Shakespeare, etc. (A fig for ...) is 1570s (in 17c. sometimes in Italian form fico), in part from fig as "small, valueless thing," but also from Greek and Italian use of their versions of the word as slang for "vulva," apparently because of how a ripe fig looks when split open [Rawson, Weekley]. Giving the fig (Old French faire la figue, Spanish dar la higa) was an indecent gesture of ancient provenance, made by putting the thumb between two fingers or into the mouth, with the intended effect of the modern gesture of "flipping the bird" (see bird (n.3)). Also compare sycophant.
Use of fig leaf in figurative sense of "flimsy disguise" (1550s) is from Genesis iii.7. Fig-faun translates Latin faunus ficarius (Jeremiah l.39). Fig Newtons (by 1907) are named for Newton, Massachusetts.