Pain in the English offers proofreading services for short-form writing such as press releases, job applications, or marketing copy. 24 hour turnaround. Learn More
Where does that phrase come from and what does it mean?
dictionary.com says that a canary is "someone acting as an informer or decoy for the police". Maybe "he sang like a canary" means that "he ratted somebody out".
December 20, 2007, 1:36pm
To "Sing like a canary" is probably an exact translation from Polish, which means to sing very well.
December 25, 2007, 5:33am
Actually, both Javid Jamae and Ollie might be right because the translated sentence has both meanings.
January 12, 2008, 3:37pm
it also might have something to do with the use of canaries in coal mines. they can sense when the carbon monoxide was present, so their chirping would signal the miners to get to some fresh air.
April 8, 2008, 4:07pm
Maggie kate, I'm afraid the truth is far more grim than you realize. Carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless, even to canaries. They are small, frail creatures compared to us humans, far more susceptible to its effects. It wasn't the canaries' chirping that warned the miners. It was the canaries' keeling over dead that warned them.
April 9, 2008, 2:25pm
In reference to an informer: "loudly and at length." :-)
January 30, 2009, 9:40pm
©2015 CYCLE Interactive, LLC.All Rights Reserved.