canary

\ \ [16] Small green finches (Serinus canarius) native to the Canary Islands were introduced as cage birds in England in the 16th century (the domestic breed is now for the most part yellow). They were called, naturally enough, canary birds, and by the mid 17th century this had become simply canary. The Canaries, a group of Spanish islands in the Atlantic off the northwest coast of Africa, got their name because one of them was famous in Roman times for a large breed of dog found there (Latin canāriusof dogs’ was a derivative of canís, source of English canine, chenille, and kennel and related to English hound).
\ \ Cf.CANINE, CHENILLE, HOUND, KENNEL

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.

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  • Canary — Ca*na ry, a. [F. Canarie, L. Canaria insula one of the Canary islands, said to be so called from its large dogs, fr. canis dog.] 1. Of or pertaining to the Canary Islands; as, canary wine; canary birds. [1913 Webster] 2. Of a pale yellowish… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Canary — Ca*na ry, n.; pl. {Canaries}. 1. Wine made in the Canary Islands; sack. A cup of canary. Shak. [1913 Webster] 2. A canary bird. [1913 Webster] 3. A pale yellow color, like that of a canary bird. [1913 Webster] 4. A quick and lively dance. [Obs.]… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • canary — type of small songbird, 1650s (short for Canary bird, 1570s), from Fr. canarie, from Sp. canario canary bird, lit. of the Canary Islands, from L. Insula Canaria Canary Island, largest of the Fortunate Isles, lit. island of dogs, (canis, gen.… …   Etymology dictionary

  • canary — [kə ner′ē] n. pl. canaries [Fr canarie < Sp canario < L Canaria (insula), Canary (island), lit., island of dogs < canis dog (see HOUND1): so called from its large dogs] 1. a small, yellow finch (Serinus canaria) native to the Canary… …   English World dictionary

  • Canary — Ca*na ry, v. i. To perform the canary dance; to move nimbly; to caper. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] But to jig of a tune at the tongue s end, canary to it with your feet. Shak. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • canary — ► NOUN (pl. canaries) 1) a bright yellow finch with a melodious song, popular as a cage bird. 2) (also canary yellow) a bright yellow colour. ORIGIN from the Canary Islands, to which one species of the bird is native; the name of the islands is… …   English terms dictionary

  • Canary — Taxobox name = Canary image width = 240px image caption = status = LC status system = iucn3.1 status ref = [IUCN2006|assessors=BirdLife International|year=2004|id=53391|title=Serinus canaria|downloaded=12 May 2006 Database entry includes… …   Wikipedia

  • canary — /keuh nair ee/, n., pl. canaries, adj. n. 1. any of several Old World finches of the genus Serinus, esp. 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… …   Universalium

  • canary — n. (pl. ies) 1 any of various small finches of the genus Serinus, esp. S. canaria, a songbird native to the Canary Islands, with mainly yellow plumage. 2 hist. a sweet wine from the Canary Islands. Phrases and idioms: canary coloured coloured… …   Useful english dictionary

  • canary — I. /kəˈnɛəri / (say kuh nairree) noun (plural canaries) 1. Also, canary bird. a bird, Serinus canarius, family Fringillidae, native to the Canary Islands, often kept as a pet; originally of a brownish or greenish colour, but through modification… …   Australian English dictionary

  • canary — noun (plural canaries) 1》 a bright yellow finch with a melodious song, popular as a cage bird. [Serinus canaria (Canary Islands, Azores, and Madeira) and related species in Africa.] 2》 (also canary yellow) a bright yellow colour. 3》 historical a… …   English new terms dictionary

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