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[nahyt-n-geyl, nahy-ting-] /ˈnaɪt nˌgeɪl, ˈnaɪ tɪŋ-/
any of several small, Old World, migratory birds of the thrush family, especially Luscinia megarhynchos, of Europe, noted for the melodious song of the male, given chiefly at night during the breeding season.
Origin of nightingale
1200-50; Middle English nightyngale, nasalized variant of nightegale, Old English nihtegale, cognate with German Nachtigall, literally, night singer (compare Old English galan sing; akin to yell)


[nahyt-n-geyl, nahy-ting-] /ˈnaɪt nˌgeɪl, ˈnaɪ tɪŋ-/
Florence ("the Lady with the Lamp") 1820–1910, English nurse: reformer of hospital conditions and procedures; reorganizer of nurse's training programs. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for nightingale
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Though you go to bed with the nightingale, you rise with the lark.

  • A nightingale was singing somewhere in the elm trees which bordered the garden.

    The Avenger E. Phillips Oppenheim
  • What does the nightingale care for a golden cage when he can get a twig?

    The Manxman Hall Caine
  • I was indescribably grieved to read of the death of nightingale.

  • It is just the case of Kittermaster, nightingale, or Scottie, isn't it?

  • It appeared that six miles away the nightingale was an unknown fowl.

    Love and Lucy

    Maurice Henry Hewlett
  • I don't mind the bonds, and that sort of thing, but there's this nightingale Cottage.

    Shorty McCabe Sewell Ford
  • Fly about as a nightingale, my boy, henceforth and evermore!

    Russian Fairy Tales W. R. S. Ralston
  • The nightingale is a sweet bird, but I like the lark better.

    The Buddha Paul Carus
British Dictionary definitions for nightingale


a brownish European songbird, Luscinia megarhynchos, with a broad reddish-brown tail: well known for its musical song, usually heard at night
any of various similar or related birds, such as Luscinia luscinia (thrush nightingale)
Word Origin
Old English nihtegale, literally: night-singer, from night + galan to sing


Florence, known as the Lady with the Lamp. 1820–1910, English nurse, famous for her work during the Crimean War. She helped to raise the status and quality of the nursing profession and founded a training school for nurses in London (1860)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for nightingale

Old English næctigalæ, nihtegale, compound formed in Proto-Germanic (cf. Dutch nachtegaal, German Nachtigall) from *nakht- "night" (see night) + *galon "to sing," related to Old English giellan "yell" (see yell). With parasitic -n- that appeared mid-13c. Dutch nightingale "frog" is attested from 1769. In Japanese, "nightingale floor" is said to be the term for boards that creak when you walk on them.

French rossignol (Old French lousseignol) is, with Spanish ruiseñor, Portuguese rouxinol, Italian rosignuolo, from Vulgar Latin *rosciniola, dissimilated from Latin lusciniola "nightingale," diminutive of luscinia "nightingale."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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nightingale in Medicine

Nightingale Night·in·gale (nīt'n-gāl', nī'tĭng-), Florence. 1820-1910.

British nurse who organized (1854) and directed a unit of field nurses during the Crimean War and is considered the founder of modern nursing.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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