noun \kə-ˈner-ē\

: a small usually yellow or green tropical bird that is often kept in a cage

plural ca·nar·ies

Full Definition of CANARY

:  a Canary Islands usually sweet wine similar to Madeira
:  a lively 16th century court dance
:  a small finch (Serinus canarius syn. S. canaria) of the Canary Islands that is usually greenish to yellow and is kept as a cage bird and singer
slang :  informer 2

Examples of CANARY

  1. <a canary who was singing and giving up the names of some of the city's most notorious drug lords>

Origin of CANARY

Middle French canarie, from Old Spanish canario, from Islas Canarias Canary Islands
First Known Use: 1584

Other Birds Terms

aerie, bunting, clutch, covey, hackle, ratite, rictus, ruff, skein, zygodactyl


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Canary (Serinus canaria).—Eric Hosking

Popular cage bird (Serinus canaria; in the finch family, Fringillidae) that owes its coloration and sustained vocal powers to 400 years of selective breeding. Varieties called rollers trill almost continuously; choppers have a loud trill of distinct notes. Well-known breeds include Hartz Mountain, Norwich, and Yorkshire. The average life span of a caged canary is 10–15 years. The canary is native to the Canary, Azores, and Madeira islands. The wild form is streak-backed and mostly greenish brown.


Next Word in the Dictionary: Canary banana
Previous Word in the Dictionary: Canarium
All Words Near: canary

Seen & Heard

What made you want to look up canary? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).