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

  • intransitive verb To utter a series of words or sounds in musical tones.
  • intransitive verb To vocalize songs or selections.
  • intransitive verb To perform songs or selections as a trained or professional singer.
  • intransitive verb To produce sounds when played.
  • intransitive verb To make melodious sounds.
  • intransitive verb To give or have the effect of melody; lilt.
  • intransitive verb To make a high whining, humming, or whistling sound.
  • intransitive verb To be filled with a buzzing or ringing sound.
  • intransitive verb To proclaim or extol something in verse.
  • intransitive verb To write poetry.
  • intransitive verb Slang To give information or evidence against someone.
  • intransitive verb To produce the musical sound of.
  • intransitive verb To utter with musical inflections.
  • intransitive verb To bring to a specified state by singing.
  • intransitive verb To intone or chant (parts of the Mass, for example).
  • intransitive verb To proclaim or extol, especially in verse.
  • noun A gathering of people for group singing.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A singing; an entertainment of song.
  • noun An abbreviation of singular.
  • To utter words or inarticulate sounds in musical succession or with a tone that is musical in quality; chant: said of human beings.
  • Specifically, to intone.
  • To produce tuneful, musical, or rhythmical sounds: said of certain birds, beasts, and insects, and of various inanimate things: as, singing sands.
  • To give out a continuous murmuring, humming, buzzing, or whistling sound.
  • To cry out with pain or displeasure; squeal.
  • To compose verse; relate or rehearse something in numbers or verse.
  • To have the sensation of a continuous humming or ringing sound; ring.
  • To be capable of being sung; be adaptable to a musical setting.
  • Technically, an oscine passerine bird, whether it can sing or not; any member of the Oscines or Cantatores, many of which are songless.
  • To utter in musical sounds or with musical alternations of pitch; chant.
  • Specifically, to intone.
  • To celebrate with singing, or with some form of sound resembling singing; proclaim musically or resonantly; chant.
  • To frame, utter, or declaim in poetic form.
  • To celebrate in numbers or verse; describe or glorify in poetry.
  • To utter with enthusiasm; celebrate: as, to sing a person's praises on all occasions.
  • To usher in or out, attend on, or accompany with singing: as, to sing the old year out and the new year in.
  • To bring, send, force, or effect, as any end or change, by singing: as, to sing a child to sleep.
  • Synonyms To carol, warble, chant, hymn.

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

  • intransitive verb To utter sounds with musical inflections or melodious modulations of voice, as fancy may dictate, or according to the notes of a song or tune, or of a given part (as alto, tenor, etc.) in a chorus or concerted piece.
  • intransitive verb To utter sweet melodious sounds, as birds do.
  • intransitive verb To make a small, shrill sound.
  • intransitive verb To tell or relate something in numbers or verse; to celebrate something in poetry.
  • intransitive verb obsolete To cry out; to complain.
  • transitive verb To utter with musical inflections or modulations of voice.
  • transitive verb To celebrate in song; to give praises to in verse; to relate or rehearse in numbers, verse, or poetry.
  • transitive verb To influence by singing; to lull by singing.


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

[Middle English singen, from Old English singan; see sengwh- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English singen, from Old English singan 'to sing, recite', from Proto-Germanic *singwanan (compare West Frisian sjonge, Dutch zingen, German singen, Swedish sjunga), from Proto-Indo-European *sengʷh- (compare Welsh deongl 'to explain', Ancient Greek omphē 'voice, oracle', Prakrit saṃghai 'to say, teach').


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  • Has nothing to do with mulesing.

    April 23, 2008

  • Even with insects--

    some can sing,

    some can't.

    - Kobayashi Issa.

    March 4, 2010