Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A small finch (Serinus canaria) native to the Canary Islands that is greenish to yellow and has long been bred as a cage bird.
  • noun A woman singer.
  • noun An informer; a stool pigeon.
  • noun A sweet white wine from the Canary Islands, similar to Madeira.
  • noun A light to moderate or vivid yellow.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In Australia, a name of Clitonyx ochrocephala, a relative of the lyrebird.
  • To dance; frolic; perform the old dance called a canary.
  • noun Wine made in the Canary islands.
  • noun A lively French and English dance, of disputed origin, similar to the jig: named from the Canary islands. Often written canaries.
  • noun A melody intended for such a dance, written in sextuple (or sometimes quadruple) rhythm.
  • noun A canary-bird (which see).
  • noun A sovereign (gold coin): so called from its color.
  • noun A kept mistress.
  • noun A word put by Shakspere in its singular arid plural forms into the mouth of Mrs. Quickly, in the explanation of which commentators differ. It is probably an intentional blunder for quandary.
  • Of the color of the domestic canary-bird; bright-yellow.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun Wine made in the Canary Islands; sack.
  • noun A canary bird.
  • noun A pale yellow color, like that of a canary bird.
  • noun obsolete A quick and lively dance.
  • intransitive verb obsolete To perform the canary dance; to move nimbly; to caper.
  • adjective Of or pertaining to the Canary Islands.
  • adjective Of a pale yellowish color.
  • adjective a grass of the genus Phalaris (Phalaris Canariensis), producing the seed used as food for canary birds.
  • adjective (Min.) a yellow species of carnelian, named from its resemblance in color to the plumage of the canary bird.
  • adjective the beautiful wood of the trees Persea Indica and Persea Canariensis, natives of Madeira and the Canary Islands.
  • adjective See Canary bird flower, under Canary bird.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A small, usually yellow, finch (genus Serinus), a songbird native to the Canary Islands.
  • noun Any of various small birds of different countries, most of which are largely yellow in colour.
  • noun A light, slightly greenish, yellow colour.
  • noun A light, sweet, white wine from the Canary Islands.
  • noun A lively dance, possibly of Spanish origin (also called canaries).
  • noun Any test subject, especially an inadvertent or unwilling one. (From the mining practice of using canaries to detect dangerous gases.)
  • noun informal A female singer, soprano, a coloratura singer.
  • noun slang An informer or snitch; a squealer.
  • noun slang A (usually yellow) capsule of Nembutal™ barbiturate.
  • noun Australia, informal A yellow sticker of unroadworthiness.
  • adjective Of a light yellow colour.
  • verb intransitive to dance nimbly (as in the canary dance)

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun someone acting as an informer or decoy for the police
  • noun a female singer
  • noun any of several small Old World finches
  • adjective having the color of a canary; of a light to moderate yellow
  • noun a moderate yellow with a greenish tinge

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[French canari, from Spanish canario, of the Canary Islands, from (Islas) Canarias, Canary (Islands), from Late Latin Canāriae (Īnsulae), (islands) of dogs, from Latin canārius, pertaining to dogs, canine, from canis, dog; see kwon- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From the Latin Canariae insulae, "Canary Islands" (Spanish "Islas Canarias"); from the largest island Insula Canaria ("Dog Island" or "Canine Island"), named for its dogs, from canarius, "canine", from canis, dog.

Examples

Comments

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  • "dog" island, not just "for the birds"

    June 22, 2007

  • "'We had several sorts of liquors, namely Virginia red wine and white wine, Irish usquebaugh, brandy, shrub, two sorts of rum, champagne, canary, cherry punch, cider.'"

    —Sarah Hand Meacham, Every Home a Distillery: Alcohol, Gender, and Technology in the Colonial Chesapeake (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009), 15

    June 9, 2010