canary

All Sources -
Updated Media sources (1) About encyclopedia.com content Print Topic Share Topic
views updated

ca·nar·y / kəˈnerē/ • n. (pl. -ies) 1. a mainly African finch (genus Serinus) with a melodious song, typically having yellowish-green plumage. ∎ slang an informer. 2. (also canary yellow) a bright yellow color resembling the plumage of a canary. 3. (also canary wine) hist. a sweet wine from the Canary Islands, similar to Madeira.

views updated

canary (kənâr´ē), common name for a familiar cage bird of the family Ploceidae (Old World finch family), descended from either the wild serin finch or from the very similar wild canary, Serinus canarius, of the Canary Islands, Madeira, and the Azores and introduced into Europe in the late 15th or early 16th cent. The wild birds are usually gray or green; selective breeding has produced both plain and variegated birds, mostly yellow and buff but sometimes greenish. Germany is traditionally the center for training and breeding canaries; the Harz Mt. and the St. Andreasberg canaries originated there. The birds are trained to sing by exposure to other birds of superior ability or to musical instruments. The song of roller canaries is a series of "tours," a complex set of rolling trills delivered with the bill almost closed; choppers sing with the bill open. Canaries breed rapidly in captivity and with proper care may live to 15 years or more. Canaries are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Passeriformes, family Ploceidae.

views updated

canary name of a dance, a wine, and a singing-bird from the Canary Islands. XVI. — F. canarie — Sp. canaria, in L. Canāria insula ‘Isle of Dogs’, so named from its large dogs (L. canārius pert. to dogs, f. canis dog, HOUND). As the name of the bird modelled on F. canari, †-ie — Sp. canario.

views updated

canaryairy, Azeri, canary, carabinieri, Carey, Cary, chary, clary, contrary, dairy, Dari, faerie, fairy, glairy, glary, Guarneri, hairy, lairy, Mary, miserere, nary, Nyerere, prairie, Salieri, scary, Tipperary, vary, wary •carefree • masonry • blazonry •Aintree • pastry • masturbatory •freemasonry • stonemasonry • Petrie

views updated

canary Popular cage-bird that lives wild in the Azores, Canary and Madeira islands. These yellowish finches feed on fruit, seeds and insects, and lay spotted greenish-blue eggs. The pure yellow varieties have been domesticated since the 16th century, although they are difficult to breed in captivity. Family Fringillidae; species Serinus canarius.

views updated

canary (Serinus canaria) See FRINGILLIDAE.

views updated

canary in the 19th century, domestic canaries were often kept in coal mines; by succumbing to any build up of gas, they gave warning to miners of potential danger.