canary


canary
/keuh nair"ee/, n., pl. canaries, adj.
n.
1. any of several Old World finches of the genus Serinus, esp. S. canaria (common canary), native to the Canary Islands and often kept as a pet, in the wild being greenish with brown streaks above and yellow below and in domesticated varieties usually bright yellow or pale yellow.
2. Also called canary yellow. a light, clear yellow color.
3. Slang. informer (def. 1).
4. Slang. a female singer, esp. with a dance band.
5. a sweet white wine of the Canary Islands, resembling sherry.
6. a yellow diamond.
adj.
7. having the color canary.
[1585-95; < Sp (Isla) Canaria < L Canaria (insula) Dog (Island), equiv. to can(is) dog + -aria, fem. of -arius -ARY]

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Popular cage bird (Serinus canaria; in the goldfinch family, Carduelidae) that owes its coloration and sustained vocal powers to 400 years of selective breeding.

Varieties called rollers trill almost continuously; choppers have a loud trill of distinct notes. Well-known breeds include Hartz Mountain, Norwich, and Yorkshire. The average life span of a caged canary is 10–15 years. The canary is native to the Canary, Azores, and Madeira islands. The wild form is streak-backed and mostly greenish brown.

Canary (Serinus canaria).

Eric Hosking

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bird
      (species Serinus canaria), popular cage bird of the family Carduelidae (order Passeriformes). It owes its coloration and sustained vocal powers to 400 years of selective breeding by humans. Varieties called rollers trill almost continuously, the notes running together; choppers have a loud trill of distinct notes. Well-known breeds include Hartz Mountain, Norwich, and Yorkshire. The average life span of a caged canary is 10–15 years; some have survived for more than 20 years.

      The canary is native to the Canary, Azores, and Madeira islands. The wild form is streak-backed and mostly greenish brown. Among other members of the genus are the serin of Europe and the brimstone canary, or bully seedeater (S. sulphuratus) of Africa, which is also kept as a pet.

      For the wild canary in the United States, see goldfinch; woodwarbler (wood warbler). For the wild canary in Australia, see warbler. For information on the black-throated canary, see seedeater.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Canary — Ca*na ry, a. [F. Canarie, L. Canaria insula one of the Canary islands, said to be so called from its large dogs, fr. canis dog.] 1. Of or pertaining to the Canary Islands; as, canary wine; canary birds. [1913 Webster] 2. Of a pale yellowish… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Canary — Ca*na ry, n.; pl. {Canaries}. 1. Wine made in the Canary Islands; sack. A cup of canary. Shak. [1913 Webster] 2. A canary bird. [1913 Webster] 3. A pale yellow color, like that of a canary bird. [1913 Webster] 4. A quick and lively dance. [Obs.]… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • canary — type of small songbird, 1650s (short for Canary bird, 1570s), from Fr. canarie, from Sp. canario canary bird, lit. of the Canary Islands, from L. Insula Canaria Canary Island, largest of the Fortunate Isles, lit. island of dogs, (canis, gen.… …   Etymology dictionary

  • canary — [kə ner′ē] n. pl. canaries [Fr canarie < Sp canario < L Canaria (insula), Canary (island), lit., island of dogs < canis dog (see HOUND1): so called from its large dogs] 1. a small, yellow finch (Serinus canaria) native to the Canary… …   English World dictionary

  • Canary — Ca*na ry, v. i. To perform the canary dance; to move nimbly; to caper. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] But to jig of a tune at the tongue s end, canary to it with your feet. Shak. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • canary — ► NOUN (pl. canaries) 1) a bright yellow finch with a melodious song, popular as a cage bird. 2) (also canary yellow) a bright yellow colour. ORIGIN from the Canary Islands, to which one species of the bird is native; the name of the islands is… …   English terms dictionary

  • Canary — Taxobox name = Canary image width = 240px image caption = status = LC status system = iucn3.1 status ref = [IUCN2006|assessors=BirdLife International|year=2004|id=53391|title=Serinus canaria|downloaded=12 May 2006 Database entry includes… …   Wikipedia

  • canary — n. (pl. ies) 1 any of various small finches of the genus Serinus, esp. S. canaria, a songbird native to the Canary Islands, with mainly yellow plumage. 2 hist. a sweet wine from the Canary Islands. Phrases and idioms: canary coloured coloured… …   Useful english dictionary

  • canary — I. /kəˈnɛəri / (say kuh nairree) noun (plural canaries) 1. Also, canary bird. a bird, Serinus canarius, family Fringillidae, native to the Canary Islands, often kept as a pet; originally of a brownish or greenish colour, but through modification… …   Australian English dictionary

  • canary — noun (plural canaries) 1》 a bright yellow finch with a melodious song, popular as a cage bird. [Serinus canaria (Canary Islands, Azores, and Madeira) and related species in Africa.] 2》 (also canary yellow) a bright yellow colour. 3》 historical a… …   English new terms dictionary


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