AskDefine | Define canary

Dictionary Definition

canary adj : having the color of a canary; a light to moderate yellow [syn: canary-yellow]


1 someone acting as an informer or decoy for the police [syn: fink, snitch, snitcher, stoolpigeon, stoolie, sneak, sneaker]
2 a female singer
3 a moderate yellow with a greenish tinge [syn: canary yellow]
4 any of several small Old World finches [syn: canary bird]

User Contributed Dictionary



From the Latin Canaria insula, Canary Islands (Islas Canarias); named for its dogs (canis).



  1. A small, usually yellow, finch (genus Serinus), a songbird native to the Canary Islands.
  2. Any of various small birds of different countries, most of which are largely yellow in colour.
  3. A light, slightly greenish, yellow colour.
    canary colour:   
  4. A light, sweet, white wine from the Canary Islands.
  5. A lively dance, possibly of Spanish origin (also called canaries).
  6. Any test subject, especially an inadvertent or unwilling one. (From the mining practice of using canaries to detect dangerous gases.)
  7. A female singer, soprano, a coloratura singer.
  8. An informer or snitch; a squealer.
  9. A (usually yellow) capsule of Nembutal™ barbiturate.
  10. A sticker of unroadworthiness.


bird from Canary Islands
small yellow bird in general
test object


canary (: more canary, : most canary)
  1. of a light yellow colour.



  1. to dance nimbly (as in the canary dance)

Related terms

See also

Extensive Definition

This page is about the wild bird. See Domestic Canary for the cagebird.
The Canary (Serinus canaria) sometimes called the Island Canary, Tame Canary or Atlantic Canary, is a small bird in the finch family. It is native to the Azores, the Canary Islands, and Madeira.


It is 12.5 cm long, with a wingspan of 20-23 cm and a weight of 15-20 g. It is yellow-green, with brownish streaking on its back. It is about 10% larger, longer and less contrasted than its relative the Serin, and has more grey and brown in its plumage and relatively shorter wings. The song is a silvery twittering similar to the songs of the Serin and Citril Finch.
  • Azores: 30,000-60,000 pairs.
  • Canary Islands: 80,000-90,000 pairs.
  • Madeira: 4,000-5,000 pairs.


The bird is named after the Canary Islands, not the other way around, derived from the Latin name canariae insulae ("islands of dogs") used by Arnobius, referring to the large dogs kept by the inhabitants of the islands. The colour canary yellow is in turn named after the yellow Domestic Canary.


This species is often kept as a pet; see Domestic Canary for details. Birds have escaped from captivity and have established feral populations on Bermuda, Midway Atoll in Hawaii, and Puerto Rico.


canary in Danish: Kanariefugl
canary in German: Kanarienvogel
canary in Spanish: Serinus canaria
canary in French: Serin des Canaries
canary in Scottish Gaelic: Canari
canary in Korean: 카나리아
canary in Ido: Kanario
canary in Italian: Serinus canaria
canary in Hebrew: קנרית
canary in Georgian: კანარის ჩიტი
canary in Luxembourgish: Kanarievull
canary in Dutch: Kanarie
canary in Japanese: カナリア
canary in Polish: Kanarek
canary in Portuguese: Canário
canary in Russian: Канарейка
canary in Finnish: Kanarianhemppo
canary in Swedish: Kanariefågel
canary in Thai: นกคีรีบูน
canary in Turkish: Kanarya
canary in Chinese: 金丝雀

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Heldentenor, Meistersinger, Philomel, alto, aria singer, aureate, auric, baritenor, baritone, bass, basso, basso buffo, basso cantante, basso profundo, beige, betrayer, blues singer, buff, buff-yellow, bulbul, canary-yellow, cantatrice, cantor, caroler, chanter, chantress, citron, citron-yellow, coloratura soprano, comic bass, contralto, countertenor, cream, creamy, crooner, cuckoo, deep bass, diva, dramatic soprano, ecru, fallow, feathered songster, flaxen, gilded, gilt, gold, gold-colored, golden, heroic tenor, hymner, improvisator, lark, lead singer, lemon, lemon-yellow, lieder singer, luteolous, lutescent, mavis, melodist, mezzo-soprano, mockingbird, nark, nightingale, ocherish, ocherous, ochery, ochreous, ochroid, ochrous, ochry, opera singer, or, oriole, prima donna, primrose, primrose-colored, primrose-yellow, psalm singer, ringdove, rock-and-roll singer, saffron, saffron-colored, saffron-yellow, sallow, sand-colored, sandy, singer, singing bird, singstress, snitch, song sparrow, songbird, songster, songstress, soprano, squealer, stool pigeon, stoolie, straw, straw-colored, tenor, thrush, tipster, torch singer, vocalist, vocalizer, voice, warbler, xanthic, xanthous, yellow, yellowish, yodeler
Privacy Policy, About Us, Terms and Conditions, Contact Us
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Material from Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Dict
Valid HTML 4.01 Strict, Valid CSS Level 2.1