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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.
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).
Contemporary Examples

Chicago Priests Raped and Pillaged for 50 Years Barbie Latza Nadeau November 6, 2014
What the Justice Department is Hiding Scott Horton November 13, 2008
March Jobs Report: Not Good Megan McArdle April 4, 2013
Gal With a Suitcase Jolie Hunt November 20, 2009
What the Justice Department is Hiding Scott Horton November 13, 2008

Historical Examples

Verotchka’s Tales Mamin Siberiak
Harper’s Young People, July 6, 1880 Various
Walt Whitman in Mickle Street Elizabeth Leavitt Keller
Harper’s Young People, October 12, 1880 Various
Small Gardens Violet Purton Biddle

noun (pl) -naries
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
(Austral, history) a convict
(archaic) a sweet wine from the Canary Islands similar to Madeira
plural noun
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)

A girl or woman; chick (1880s+)
A woman singer, esp of popular music (1919+)
An informer; stool pigeon •Because a canary sings (1920s+ Underworld)

see: look like the cat that ate the canary


Read Also:

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  • Cancan

    a lively high kicking dance that came into vogue about 1830 in Paris and after 1844 was used as an exhibition dance. Historical Examples The Nuttall Encyclopaedia Edited by Rev. James Wood The Pomp of the Lavilettes, Complete Gilbert Parker Marse Henry (Vol. 2) Henry Watterson San-Cravate; or, The Messengers; Little Streams Charles Paul de […]

  • Cancer

    Pathology. a malignant and invasive growth or tumor, especially one originating in epithelium, tending to recur after excision and to metastasize to other sites. any disease characterized by such growths. any evil condition or thing that spreads destructively; blight. genitive Cancri [kang-kree] /ˈkæŋ kri/ (Show IPA). (initial capital letter) Astronomy. the Crab, a zodiacal constellation […]

  • Cancrine

    reading the same backwards as forwards: a cancrine line.

Disclaimer: Canary definition / meaning should not be considered complete, up to date, and is not intended to be used in place of a visit, consultation, or advice of a legal, medical, or any other professional. All content on this website is for informational purposes only.