American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A European songbird (Luscinia megarhynchos) with reddish-brown plumage, noted for the melodious song of the male at night during the breeding season.
- n. Any of various other nocturnal songbirds of the genus Luscinia.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A small sylviine bird of Europe, Asia, and Africa, belonging to the order Passeres, the suborder Oscines, the family Sylviidæ, and the genus Daulias. There are two kinds, formerly regarded as specifically identical, and variously called by ornithologists Motacilla or Sylvia or Philomela or Luscinia luscinia or philomela, and by other New Latin names. The two kinds are most commonly distinguished as Daulias luscinia or D. vera, the true nightingale, and D. philomela. The former is the one which is common in Great Britain, and to which the name nightingale specially pertains. The poets call both birds philomel or Philomela. The famous song of the nightingale, heard chiefly at night, is the love-song of the male, which ceases as soon as his propensities are gratified, as is usual with birds. The nightingale is migratory, like nearly all insectivorous birds of the northern hemisphere, extending its migrations far to the north of Europe in the spring. In England, where it appears about the middle of April and passes the summer, it is quite locally distributed, being very common in some places, and rare in or absent from others apparently equally suited to its habits. It haunts woods, copses, and hedgerows, especially where the soil is rich and moist, and is so secretive as to be oftener heard than seen. The favorite food of the nightingale is the larvæ of insects, especially the hymenopters, as wasps and ants. The nest is placed on the ground or near it; the eggs are 4 or 5 in number, pale olive-brown, about ⅘ inch long by a little over ½ inch broad. The length of the bird is 6¾ inches; its extent of wings is 10½ inches. The sexes are alike reddish-brown above, below pale grayish-brown, whitening on the throat and belly, the tail being brownish-red. This nightingale is sometimes specified as the brake-nightingale, when the other species (D. philomela) is called
- n. Some bird which sings sweetly and hence is likened to or mistaken for a nightingale. Thus, the bird called Virginia nightingale is a finch, the cardinal grosbeak, Cardinalis virginianus; that called Indian nightingale is a kind of thrush, Kittacincla macrura. Persian nightingales are various bulbuls of the family Pycnonotidæ. (See
Pycnonotus.) The mock nightingale is the black-capped warbler, Sylvia atricapilla.
- n. A sort of flannel scarf, with sleeves, designed to be worn by persons confined to bed. It was largely used by the sick and wounded in the Franco-German war, 1870–1.
- n. A title popularly given to Jenny Lind, the famous Swedish singer.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Zoöl.) A small, plain, brown and gray European song bird (Luscinia megarhynchos syn. Luscinia luscinia). It sings at night, and is celebrated for the sweetness of its song.
- n. (Zoöl.) A larger species (Lucinia philomela), of Eastern Europe, having similar habits; the thrush nightingale. The name is also applied to other allied species.
- n. English nurse remembered for her work during the Crimean War (1820-1910)
- n. European songbird noted for its melodious nocturnal song
- Old English and Middle English nihtgale ("one who sings during the night") (Wiktionary)
- Middle English, from Old English nihtegale : niht, night; see night + galan, to sing. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“Now we own that what there is so _indecorous_ in the first comparison, or so especially _decorous_ in the second, we cannot discover; neither can we make out whether Pope is the organ or the bell -- the nightingale or the cuckoo; we suppose that Mr. Hunt knows that Pope was called by his contemporaries the _nightingale_, but we never heard Milton and”
“He sends his courtiers to take a nightingale from the nearby forest and present her as a guest at court.”
“Voiture, in his thirty-fifth letter to Costar, compliments the musical atom of Marini, the feathered voice, the living breath clothed in plumage, the winged song, the small spirit of harmony, hidden amidst diminutive lungs; all of which terms are employed to convey the word nightingale:”
“Among all those who surround the sick mother and who hope for her recovery, only the old blind grandfather notices furtive and sliding steps in the garden where the cyprus trees are beginning to rustle and where the nightingale is hushed; he feels a cold breeze pass, he hears a scythe being whetted, he reckons that someone invisible to the others has entered to sit in their circle.”
“In the first place, he sings more or less the whole year round, and never deserts his native fields, while the nightingale is only in voice for a few weeks in May and June.”
“But after our Father and the Old Squire went to law, Mother told us we must be content with hearing the nightingale from a distance.”
“A lad warbling in his throat, at his highest and loudest scream, in imitation of a nightingale, is the perfection of vocal music, which they will listen to with pleasure for hours, and beguile the longest day's journey with the same dulcet strains.”
“Now my voice has lost its melting music, and he sends his accomplice to leave the mute 'nightingale' -- how often he has called me so!”
“He gave feverish directions to the nurse about a comfortable chair being put exactly in the right place, about his pillows being smoothed, his medicine bottles hidden, and was very anxious that the flannel garment he was made to wear when ill, a garment his mother called a nightingale -- not after the bird but the lady -- and that was the bluest flannel garment ever seen, should be arranged neatly over his narrow chest.”
“ the sweet nightingale is pouring forth its evening melody.”
These user-created lists contain the word ‘nightingale’.
A list of words that are odd or words that I have looked up.
birds with singular names from
at least 9 English dictionaries
Names of animals that are also used to describe kinds of people. Nouns only, preferably single word.
For a related list, see sionnach's beastly verbs.
My favorite words to say.
Organ stops, that is.
A work in progress....Birds from around the world (other than endemic to North America).
Boston: Re-Printed and Sold at J. Draper's Printing-Office in Newbury-Street. (Price Sixteen Pence single.)
See the companion list, A LIST of the Men of War the French have left," 174...
Looking for tweets for nightingale.