Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
bird of passage
A person who remains unfixed to a certain location, relocating from one place to another. The economy has forced me to become a bird of passage, moving around the state to wherever I can find work.
rite of passage
An event or activity often performed or experienced as part of passing from one stage of life to another. Bar Mitzvah celebrations are a rite of passage as Jewish boys become men. Getting lost while trying to find their classrooms is kind of a rite of passage for freshmen at this school.
passage of arms
obsolete A skirmish, conflict, dispute, or fight. Though he may seem like a bit of a milquetoast, there is no better man to have beside you with a sword in a passage of arms. It came to light that the elderly patron of the theatre engaged in a passage of arms with the theatre director about the issue, even going so far as threatening to withdraw her support.
work (one's) passage
To do work in exchange for free travel to a specific town or country. After his company went bust in Los Angeles, Martin had to work his passage back to his family's home in Britain.
bird of passage
A transient, one who is here today and gone tomorrow. For example, Mary moves nearly every year; she's a true bird of passage. This phrase transfers the literal meaning of a migrating bird to human behavior. [Second half of 1700s]
a bird of passage
If you call someone a bird of passage, you mean that they never stay in one place for long. Most of these emigrants were birds of passage who returned to Spain after a relatively short stay.
a bird of passagesomeone who is always moving on.
Literally, a bird of passage is a migrant bird.