nightingale

noun
night·​in·​gale | \ ˈnī-tᵊn-ˌgāl How to pronounce nightingale (audio) , -tiŋ- \

Definition of nightingale

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an Old World thrush (Luscinia megarhynchos synonym Erithacus megarhynchos) noted for the sweet usually nocturnal song of the male also : any of various other birds noted for their sweet song or for singing at night

Nightingale

biographical name
Night·​in·​gale | \ ˈnī-tᵊn-ˌgāl How to pronounce Nightingale (audio) , -tiŋ- \

Definition of Nightingale (Entry 2 of 2)

Florence 1820–1910 English nurse and philanthropist

Illustration of nightingale

Illustration of nightingale

Noun

In the meaning defined above

Examples of nightingale in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Every year, more and more endangered species arrive — such as turtle doves, on the brink of extinction from Britain, and nightingales, whose numbers plummeted 91 per cent between 1967 and 2007. Isabella Tree, Time, "How to Return a Farm to the Wild—And Maybe Save the Planet," 3 Oct. 2019 Franciosi, whose character is nicknamed the nightingale for her singing voice, worked with director Kent for an unusually lengthy 10-week rehearsal period prior to filming. Michael Phillips, chicagotribune.com, "‘The Nightingale’ review: The woman behind ‘The Babadook’ goes even darker with brutal revenge drama," 8 Aug. 2019 The nightingale sang just before midnight, as if it were perched in the boughs of the dripping tree in the car park. Deborah Levy, The Cut, "The Cost of Living," 1 July 2018 In Germany, the nightingale, that most melodious nocturnal wonder, was traded by the quart like a commodity. Adrian Higgins, sacbee, "Fertilize your creative spirit with these gardening books," 8 June 2018 The landowners brought in Tamworth pigs and rare species like nightingales and purple emperor butterflies began to appear. Nina Sovich, WSJ, "The New Outdoor Getaway: Landscapes That Have Been ‘Rewilded’," 20 Sep. 2018 The nightingale sang just before midnight, as if it were perched in the boughs of the dripping tree in the car park. Deborah Levy, The Cut, "The Cost of Living," 1 July 2018 In Germany, the nightingale, that most melodious nocturnal wonder, was traded by the quart like a commodity. Adrian Higgins, sacbee, "Fertilize your creative spirit with these gardening books," 8 June 2018 This, then, is a book that provides food for thought as well for nightingales. Simon Barnes, WSJ, "‘Pasta for Nightingales’ Review: Birdwatching Tips From the Renaissance," 13 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'nightingale.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of nightingale

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for nightingale

Noun

Middle English, variant (with intrusive n) of nyhtegale, nyghtgale, going back to Old English nehtægale, nihtegale, going back to West Germanic *nahti-galōn, from *nahti- night entry 1 + -galōn, noun derivative of Germanic *galan- "to sing," whence Old English galan "to sing, call, sing enchantments," Old High German, "to sing enchantments, conjure," Old Norse gala "to crow, chant, sing," perhaps of onomatopoeic origin

Note: Germanic *galan- has been compared with Gothic goljan "to greet," Old Norse gæla "to comfort, soothe, appease," allegedly from a causative derivative *gōljan- from underlying *gol-. Proposed Indo-European comparisons (as Russian dialect galit' "to smile," galit'sja "to mock, jeer," Armenian gełgełem "sing beautifully, quiver, vibrate") are tenuous. See also etymology at yell entry 1.

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Time Traveler for nightingale

Time Traveler

The first known use of nightingale was in the 13th century

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Statistics for nightingale

Last Updated

16 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Nightingale.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/nightingale?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=n&file=nighti02. Accessed 9 December 2019.

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More Definitions for nightingale

nightingale

noun
How to pronounce Nightingale (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of nightingale

: a small brown European bird that sings a beautiful song especially at night

nightingale

noun
night·​in·​gale | \ ˈnī-tᵊn-ˌgāl How to pronounce nightingale (audio) \

Kids Definition of nightingale

: a reddish brown European bird noted for the sweet song of the male usually heard at night

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