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.
1570s, "that hums," present-participle adjective from hum (v.). Meaning "brisk, vigorous, energetic" is from 1680s. Related: Hummingly. Humming-bird (1630s) so called from sound made by the rapid vibration of its wings.
There is a curious bird to see to, called a humming bird, no bigger then a great Beetle. [Thomas Morton, "New English Canaan," 1637]
small American bird, 1834, a modern use of Latin vireo, a word Pliny applied to some kind of bird, believed to be the European greenfinch, from virere "be green" (see verdure).
"small wading bird," mid-15c., rale, from Old French raale (13c.), related to râler "to rattle," which is of unknown origin, perhaps imitative; the bird would be so called for its cry.
"large cage or building where birds are reared or kept," 1570s, from Latin aviarium "place in which birds are kept," neuter of aviarius "of birds," from avis "bird" (from PIE root *awi- "bird").
"jaundice," 1706, medical Latin, from Greek ikteros "jaundice," also the name of a yellowish bird the sight of which was supposed, by sympathetic magic, to cure jaundice (but the bird died). As a zoological genus (American orioles), from 1713.
1580s, "beak or bill of a bird," Scottish variant of neb "beak or bill of a bird." Perhaps influenced by nibble (v.). Meaning "point" (of a pen or quill) is recorded by 1610s (neb in this sense is from 1590s).