• synonyms


See more synonyms for canary on Thesaurus.com
noun, plural ca·nar·ies.
  1. 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.
  2. Also called canary yellow. a light, clear yellow color.
  3. Slang. informer(def 1).
  4. Slang. a female singer, especially with a dance band.
  5. a sweet white wine of the Canary Islands, resembling sherry.
  6. a yellow diamond.
Show More
  1. having the color canary.
Show More

Origin of canary

1585–95; < Spanish (Isla) Canaria < Latin Canāria (insula) Dog (Island), equivalent to can(is) dog + -āria, feminine of -ārius -ary

Canary Islands

plural noun
  1. 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).
Show More
Also called Ca·nar·ies.
Related formsCa·nar·i·an, adjective, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for canary

announcer, serenade, chant, warble, whistle, shout, croon, hum, wait, intone, lemon, straw, nude, ecru, bare, tan, blonde, canary, ochre, blabbermouth

Examples from the Web for canary

Contemporary Examples of canary

Historical Examples of canary

British Dictionary definitions for canary


noun plural -naries
  1. 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
  2. See canary yellow
  3. Australian history a convict
  4. archaic a sweet wine from the Canary Islands similar to Madeira
Show More

Word Origin for canary

C16: from Old Spanish canario of or from the Canary Islands

Canary Islands


pl n
  1. 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)
Show More
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

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.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with canary


see look like the cat that ate the canary.

Show More
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.