Informal Dictionary

Please add any definitions that are informal/non-scientific, but show up in observations or forum here.


  • herper - someone interested in snakes
  • borb - a round birb
  • lifer - a taxon

If I’m wrong about the examples, please offer a better definition and I’ll edit this post.

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It reminded me of this jargon topic, but I honestly can’t think of anything but “obs” being an observation.
Lifer is a taxon seen or recorded for the first time by this user (depends on personal view on that)
Herper is short from herpetologist, on iNat likely not a professional, but one deeply interested in reptiles and/or amphibians.


You could make this a wiki if you want people to contribute to it.


Birbs is a general term for most birds. There are lots of phrases for certain birbs, such as Cobra Chicken for Canada Goose. Chikken or chicken is used for a lot of birds. See (you may need to [gasp] join!).

Never understood the “birb” thing. It isn’t short for bird and no easier to pronounce so where did it come from and why? Maybe it’s a Facebook thing and I wouldn’t be in the know if so.


I’m pretty sure it originated as a mistake, but it fits, I dare to say, childish humour, so of course it got popular.


When Is a Bird a ‘Birb’?

The word began, as near as anyone can tell, when the absurdist Twitter account BirdsRightsActivist tweeted the single word “Birb,” out on November 2012; two years later, it had multiple entries in Urban Dictionary and a dedicated reddit forum.

There are other similarly wonky misspellings such as smol, snek, and chonky. It’s not meant to be an abbreviation; it’s meant to be slightly off-kilter.

BTW, there’s a book out titled Because Internet that covers how the Internet shapes language. I haven’t read it myself yet, but it sounds like a good read.


Yes it’s childish humour, but still fun in some contexts! @jnstuart Yeah, I picked it up from FB, but don’t use it in normal conversation.

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Lifer is more than just a taxon, it’s a taxon you haven’t previously seen in your lifetime.


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