- See under canary(def 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.
- 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 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
Word Origin and History for common 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 common canary
see look like the cat that ate the canary.