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”).
canary (countable and uncountable, plural canaries)
- A small, usually yellow, finch (genus Serinus), a songbird native to the Canary Islands.
- Any of various small birds of different countries, most of which are largely yellow in colour.
- A light, slightly greenish, yellow colour.
- (countable, uncountable) A light, sweet, white wine from the Canary Islands.
1863, J[oseph] Sheridan Le Fanu, “In which a Liberty is Taken with Mr. Nutter’s Name, and Mr. Dangerfield Stands at the Altar”, in The House by the Church-yard. […], volume II, London: Tinsley, Brothers, […], OCLC 18952474, page 234:
Or maybe you'd accept iv a couple o' bottles of claret or canaries?
- A lively dance, possibly of Spanish origin (also called canaries).
1592, Thomas Nash[e], Pierce Penilesse His Supplication to the Deuill. […], London: […] [John Charlewood for] Richard Ihones, […], OCLC 86095368; republished as J[ohn] Payne Collier, editor, Pierce Penniless’s Supplication to the Devil. […], London: […] [Frederic Shoberl, Jun.] for the Shakespeare Society, 1842, OCLC 1080805044, page 21: In an other corner, Mistris Minx, a marchants wife, that will eate no cherries, forsooth, but when they are at twentie shillings a pound, that lookes as simperingly as if she were besmeard, and iets it as gingerly as if she were dancing the canaries, […] c. 1604–1605, William Shakespeare, “All’s VVell, that Ends VVell”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act II, scene i], page 235, column 2:
[…] I haue ſeen a medicine / That's able to breath life into a ſtone, / Quicken a rocke, and make you dance Canari / With ſprightly fire and motion, […]
- Any test subject, especially an inadvertent or unwilling one. (From the mining practice of using canaries to detect dangerous gases.)
- (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.
- (computing) A change that is tested by being rolled out first to a subset of machines or users before rolling out to all.
- (informal) A female singer, soprano, a coloratura singer.
- (slang) An informer or snitch; a squealer.
- (slang) A (usually yellow) capsule of the short-acting barbiturate pentobarbital/pentobarbitone (Nembutal).
- (Australia, informal) A yellow sticker of unroadworthiness.
1993 September 12, Jacco Zwetsloot, “Warning About Speed Traps”, in alt.folklore.urban, 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, 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, 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...
bird from the Canary Islands
- Armenian: դեղձանիկ (hy) (dełjanik)
- Azerbaijani: sarı bülbül
- Bulgarian: канарче n (kanarče)
- Catalan: canari (ca) m; canarí (Algherese)
- Mandarin: 金絲雀 (zh), 金丝雀 (zh) (jīnsīquè)
- Czech: kanár (cs), kanárek m
- Danish: kanariefugl (da) c
- Dutch: kanarie (nl) m, kanarievogel (nl) m
- Esperanto: kanario
- Faroese: kanarjufuglur
- Finnish: kanarialintu (fi)
- French: canari (fr) m
- Gallurese: canariu
- German: Kanarienvogel (de) m
- Greek: καναρίνι (el) n (kanaríni)
- Hebrew: כנרית
- Hungarian: kanári (hu), kanárimadár (hu)
- Ido: kanario (io)
- Indonesian: burung (id) kenari (id)
- Italian: canario m, canarino (it) m
- Japanese: カナリア (ja) (kanaria), カナリヤ (kanariya), (literary) 金糸雀 (きんしじゃく, kinshijaku, かなりあ, kanaria)
- Korean: 카나리아 (ko) (kanaria)
- Kumyk: сарижымчыкъ (sarijımçıq)
- Latin: canaria fringilla
- Lithuanian: kanarėlė
- Low German: Kanaarnvagel m, Kanaarjenvagel m, Kanaljenvagel m
- Luxembourgish: Kanarievillchen m
small yellow bird in general
canary (comparative more canary, superlative most canary)
- Of a light yellow colour.
canary (third-person singular simple present canaries, present participle canarying, simple past and past participle canaried)
- (intransitive) to dance nimbly (as in the canary dance)
- (slang) to inform or snitch, to betray secrets, especially about illegal activities.
- (computing) to test a software change by rolling out to a small set of machines or users before making it available to all.