noun, plural canaries.
any of several Old World finches of the genus Serinus, especially S. canaria (common canary) native to the Canary Islands and often kept as a pet, in the wild being greenish with brown streaks above and yellow below and in domesticated varieties usually bright yellow or pale yellow.
Also called canary yellow. a light, clear yellow color.
Slang. informer ( def 1 ).
Slang. a female singer, especially with a dance band.
a sweet white wine of the Canary Islands, resembling sherry.
a yellow diamond.
having the color canary.

1585–95; < Spanish (Isla) Canaria < Latin Canāria (insula) Dog (Island), equivalent to can(is) dog + -āria, feminine of -ārius -ary Unabridged

Canary Islands

plural noun
a group of mountainous islands in the Atlantic Ocean, near the NW coast of Africa, comprising two provinces of Spain. 2894 sq. mi. (7495 sq. km).
Also called Canaries.

Canarian, adjective, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
canary (kəˈnɛərɪ)
n , pl -naries
1.  a small finch, Serinus canaria, of the Canary Islands and Azores: a popular cagebird noted for its singing. Wild canaries are streaked yellow and brown, but most domestic breeds are pure yellow
2.  See canary yellow
3.  (Austral) history a convict
4.  archaic a sweet wine from the Canary Islands similar to Madeira
[C16: from Old Spanish canario of or from the Canary Islands]

Canary Islands or Canaries
pl n
a group of mountainous islands in the Atlantic off the NW coast of Africa, forming an Autonomous Community of Spain. Pop: 1 944 700 (2003 est)
Canaries or Canaries
pl n

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

type of small songbird, 1650s (short for Canary-bird, 1570s), from Fr. canarie, from Sp. canario "canary bird," lit. "of the Canary Islands," from L. Insula Canaria "Canary Island," largest of the Fortunate Isles, lit. "island of dogs," (canis, gen. canarius) so called because large dogs lived there.
The name was extended to the whole island group (Canariæ Insulæ) by the time of Arnobius (c.300). As a type of wine (from the Canary Islands) from 1580s.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


see look like the cat that ate the canary.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
Large, bright canary yellow blooms stand out against lush, dark green foliage
  on this vigorous plant.
There was such a noise that the canary woke up and joined in, but his remarks
  were in verse.
The bladder, in that respect, is the canary in the abdominal coal mine.
Many bright feather colors, such as flamingo pink and canary yellow, are
  related to the foods birds eat.
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