Definition of canary in English:


Syllabification: ca·nar·y
Pronunciation: /kəˈnerē

noun (plural canaries)

1A mainly African finch with a melodious song, typically having yellowish-green plumage. One kind is popular as a pet bird and has been bred in a variety of colors, especially bright yellow.
  • Genus Serinus, family Fringillidae: several species, especially the island canary (S. canaria), which is native to the Canary Islands, the Azores, and Madeira, and from which the domestic canary was developed
More example sentences
  • Janet has been keeping exotic birds including cockatiels, finches and canaries for 12 years.
  • Finches, canaries and budgerigars do not need as much attention from their people and so may be an option for those with busy life-styles.
  • Budgies, finches, sparrows and canaries are only a few of the more than one hundred kinds of birds people keep in their apartments.
2 (also canary yellow) A bright yellow color resembling the plumage of a canary.
More example sentences
  • African marigold comes in yellow and orange colours in various hues such as light yellow, canary yellow, golden yellow, bright yellow, cadmium, orange, golden orange, deep orange, bright orange.
  • A strong ethnic collection, it uses vivid colours which range form burgundy and strong fuchsia to canary yellow and electric blue.
  • The landscaping was so much better than anything around it, and despite the ugly color contrast of bright canary yellow and brown it was in very nice shape.
3 (also canary wine) historical A sweet wine from the Canary Islands, similar to Madeira.
More example sentences
  • His drinks cellar would have been stocked with vast quantities of strong beer and small beer (a weaker brew), as well as a range of wines such as claret and canary.
  • This was considered as a trial of victory among these ‘canary birds,’ or bibbers of canary wine.
  • Shakespeare refers to canary wine in Twelfth Night and The Merry Wives of Windsor.


late 16th century: from French canari, from Spanish canario 'canary' or 'person from the Canary Islands' (see Canary Islands).

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