from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n.pl. Singing birds; a group of the Passeres, having numerous syringeal muscles, conferring musical ability.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- A suborder of birds of the order Passeres, the Passeres acromyodi, a group of singing birds, characterized by having several distinct pairs of intrinsic muscles of the syrinx inserted into the ends of the upper bronchial half-rings, constituting a complex and effective musical apparatus.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. two names for the suborder of typical songbirds
Sorry, no etymologies found.
There are nine thousand bird species, and song learning arises in only three of the twenty-seven major avian groups—parrots, hummingbirds, and oscines.
Auguries were also drawn from the notes of birds, birds being divided by the augurs into two classes: (i) oscines, "those which give omens by their note," and (ii) alites, "those which afford presages by their flight."
He is the possessor of a clear, musical voice, and if he had the vocal organs of some of the oscines, he certainly would be one of the best feathered lyrists of America.
The author's preference would have been to begin the roll with the most interesting birds, those to which he gave the largest share of his attention, namely, the oscines, but he has decided to follow the order and nomenclature of the Check-List of North American birds as arranged by the American Ornithologists 'Union.
But he is ranked among the oscines, and seems to know it; and, after all, it is only the common fault of singers not to be able to detect their own want of tunefulness.
But _he_ was never accused of not being noisy enough, while we have one bird who, though he is classed with the oscines, passes his life in almost unbroken silence.