- any of several Old World finches of the genus Serinus, especially 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.
- Also called canary yellow. a light, clear yellow color.
- Slang. informer(def 1).
- Slang. a female singer, especially with a dance band.
- a sweet white wine of the Canary Islands, resembling sherry.
- a yellow diamond.
- having the color canary.
Origin of canary
- a group of mountainous islands in the Atlantic Ocean, near the NW coast of Africa, comprising two provinces of Spain. 2894 sq. mi. (7495 sq. km).
Examples from the Web for canary
“This is not a judgment of guilt, nor is it a suspension of any other canonical penalty,” Canary wrote.Chicago Priests Raped and Pillaged for 50 Years
Barbie Latza Nadeau
November 7, 2014
The aforementioned stories may very well be legitimate, but let's consider them a sort of canary in the coal mine.Brace Yourself: October Election Surprises Surely on the Way
October 31, 2014
As has often been the case with issues of LGBT equality, this vote is the canary in the coalmine.At the United Nations, It’s Human Rights, Putin-Style
June 26, 2014
Since retail can be the canary in the coal mine for the broader economy, there's real reason to be anxious.March Jobs Report: Not Good
April 5, 2013
And what if they're only the canary in the coal mine for doctors and MBAs and government workers?Law School Enrollments are Plummeting. What Happens Next?
January 18, 2013
Dick, the property of Aunt Judith, was a canary of thoughtful temperament.The Slave Of The Lamp
Henry Seton Merriman
I have a flower garden of my own, and two pets—a canary named Phil, and a cat.
I have a canary, and my brother and I had a pair of squirrels, but one died.
I haven't had a canary since I was a girl in my father's house.
"He can't steal her canary for she hasn't one," muttered Bob Strahan.
- a small finch, Serinus canaria, of the Canary Islands and Azores: a popular cagebird noted for its singing. Wild canaries are streaked yellow and brown, but most domestic breeds are pure yellow
- See canary yellow
- Australian history a convict
- archaic a sweet wine from the Canary Islands similar to Madeira
- a group of mountainous islands in the Atlantic off the NW coast of Africa, forming an Autonomous Community of Spain. Pop: 1 944 700 (2003 est)
Word Origin and History for canary
type of small songbird, 1650s (short for Canary-bird, 1570s), from French canarie, from Spanish canario "canary bird," literally "of the Canary Islands," from Latin Insula Canaria "Canary Island," largest of the Fortunate Isles, literally "island of dogs" (canis, genitive canarius; see canine (n.)), so called because large dogs lived there. The name was extended to the whole island group (Canariæ Insulæ) by the time of Arnobius (c.300). As a type of wine (from the Canary Islands) from 1580s.
Idioms and Phrases with canary
see look like the cat that ate the canary.