See also: Canary

English edit

 
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A canary bird (1)

Etymology edit

From French canarie, from Spanish canario, from the Latin Canariae insulae (Canary Islands) (Spanish Islas Canarias); from the largest island Insula Canaria (Dog Island" or "Canine Island), named for its dogs, from canārius (canine), from canis (dog).

Pronunciation edit

Noun edit

canary (countable and uncountable, plural canaries)

  1. A small, usually yellow, finch (genus Serinus), a songbird native to the Canary Islands.
  2. Any of various small birds of different countries, most of which are largely yellow in colour.
  3. (informal) A female singer, soprano, a coloratura singer.
  4. (slang) An informer or snitch; a squealer.
  5. A light, slightly greenish, yellow colour.
    canary:  
  6. (slang) A (usually yellow) capsule of the short-acting barbiturate pentobarbital/pentobarbitone (Nembutal).
  7. (Australia, informal) A yellow sticker applied by the police to a vehicle to indicate it is unroadworthy.
    • 1993 September 12, Jacco Zwetsloot, “Warning About Speed Traps”, in alt.folklore.urban[1] (Usenet):
      The tendency in these types of situations (as far as I can see) is that because I don't think the act itself is illegal, the police will go through your vehicle systematically loking[sic] for anything wrong with it, to slap a canary on it (that's slang for an unroadworthy sticker) or present you with some other fine.
    • 1999 January 16, Garry Lawson, “Noisy Bikes (Update)”, in aus.motorcycles[2] (Usenet):
      Yes, if the exhaust is to noisey[sic] they can slap a yellow canary on it, but the[n] who cares you got rid of it.
    • 2003 February 14, Noddy, “Spare tyres”, in aus.cars[3] (Usenet):
      You don't have to carry a spare wheel for a car to be roadworthy, and if you *do* carry one, it doesn't have to be in a roadworthy condition *unless* you fit it [to] the car and drive on it. / If it's not and you get pinched, expect a canary...
  8. Any test subject, especially an inadvertent or unwilling one. (From the mining practice of using canaries to detect dangerous gases.)
  9. (computing) A value placed in memory such that it will be the first data corrupted by a buffer overflow, allowing the program to identify and recover from it.
  10. (computing) A change that is tested by being rolled out first to a subset of machines or users before rolling out to all.
  11. (countable, uncountable) A light, sweet, white wine from the Canary Islands.
  12. A lively dance, possibly of Spanish origin (also called canaries).
  13. (UK, slang, obsolete) A sovereign (coin).

Synonyms edit

Hyponyms edit

Derived terms edit

Translations edit

Adjective edit

canary (comparative more canary, superlative most canary)

  1. Of a light yellow colour.

Translations edit

Verb edit

canary (third-person singular simple present canaries, present participle canarying, simple past and past participle canaried)

  1. (intransitive) To dance nimbly (as in the canary dance).
  2. (slang) To inform or snitch, to betray secrets, especially about illegal activities.
  3. (software engineering) To test a software change by rolling out to a small set of machines or users before making it available to all.

Synonyms edit

Translations edit

See also edit

References edit

  • (sovereign): John Camden Hotten (1873) The Slang Dictionary