Ailing song

[ahy-ling] /ˈaɪˈlɪŋ/ (show ipa), .
[ching-ling] /ˈtʃɪŋˈlɪŋ/ (show ipa), .
[mey-ling] /ˈmeɪˈlɪŋ/ (show ipa), .
[zœ-wuhn] /ˈzœˈwʌn/ (show ipa), .

a piece of music, usually employing a verbal text, composed for the voice, esp one intended for performance by a soloist
the whole repertory of such pieces
(as modifier): a song book

poetical composition; poetry
the characteristic tuneful call or sound made by certain birds or insects
the act or process of singing: they raised their voices in song
for a song, at a bargain price
(brit, informal) on song, performing at peak efficiency or ability
the pinyin transliteration of the chinese name for sung

old english sang “voice, song, art of singing; metrical composition adapted for singing, psalm, poem,” from proto-germanic -sangwaz (cf. old norse söngr, norwegian song, swedish sång, old saxon, danish, old frisian, old high german, german sang, middle dutch sanc, dutch zang, gothic saggws), from pie -songwh-o- “singing, song,” from -sengwh- “to sing, make an incantation” (see sing (v.)).

phrase for a song “for a trifle, for little or nothing” is from “all’s well” iii.ii.9 (the identical image, por du son, is in old french. with a song in (one’s) heart “feeling joy” is first attested 1930 in lorenz hart’s lyric. song and dance as a form of vaudeville act is attested from 1872; figurative sense of “rigmarole” is from 1895.

noun phrase

something or someone bedraggled, perhaps due to weather (1928+)

related terms

like something the cat dragged in
in addition to the idiom beginning with
also see:

for a song
swan song

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