We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out moreJump to Main NavigationJump to Content
  • Text size: A
  • A

song, n.

Quotations:
Pronunciation:  /sɒŋ/
Forms:  α. OE sanc, OE– (latterly Sc. and north. dial.) sang (ME zang), ME sange. β. OE– song, ME–15 songe (ME zonge), 15–16 songue.(Show Less)
Etymology:  Common Germanic: Old English sang  , sǫng  , = Old Frisian sang  , song   (West Frisian sang  , East Frisian song  , North Frisian sōng  ), Middle Dutch sanc  , zanc  , etc. (Dutch zang  ), Old Saxon (Middle Low German, Low German) sang  , Old High German sanc  , sang   (German sang  ), Old Norse sǫngr  , sǫngv-   (Icelandic söngur  , Norwegian song  , Swedish sång  , Danish sang  ), Gothic saggws   < Germanic sangwaz  , < the preterite stem of singwan  sing v.1

 1. The act or art of singing; the result or effect of this, vocal music; that which is sung (in general or collective sense); occas., poetry.See also plainsong n.

α.
c888   Ælfred tr. Boethius De Consol. Philos. xxiv. §1   Þa he þa þis leoð asungen hæfde, þa forlet he þone sang.
OE   Beowulf 1063   Þær wæs sang ond sweg samod ætgædere fore Healfdenes hildewisan.
a1300   Cursor Mundi 1030   Þar sune es soft and suet sang.
1340   Ayenbite (1866) 60   Þe dyeules noriches þet..doþ ham slepe ine hare zenne be hare uayre zang.
c1400   Laud Troy Bk. 18127   Thei halpe hit in with mochel sang.
a1525  (▸c1448)    R. Holland Bk. Howlat l. 943 in W. A. Craigie Asloan MS (1925) II. 124   Thar with dame natur has to ye hevin..Ascendit sone..with solace & sang.
1786   R. Burns Twa Dogs iv, in Poems 11   After some dog in Highland sang.
β.
c950   Lindisf. Gosp. Luke xv. 25   Miððy..[he] geneolecde to huse, geherde huislung & þæt song.
OE   Crist III 1649   Ðær is engla song, eadigra blis.
c1275  (▸?a1200)    Laȝamon Brut (Calig.) (1978) l. 15282   Þer wes blisse & muche song.
c1275   Moral Ode 347 in Old Eng. Misc.,   Þer is alre Murehþe mest myd englene songe.
c1330   R. Mannyng Chron. Wace (Rolls) 4025   Of song & of mynstrecye Alle men gaf hym þe maystrie.
c1440   Promptorium Parvulorum 464/2   Songe, cantus.
c1440   Promptorium Parvulorum 464/2   Songe, of a manne a-lone, monodia.
1526   W. Bonde Pylgrimage of Perfection i. sig. Ci,   They shall..here their songe & melody.
1548   Hall's Vnion: Henry VIII f. ccxiiiiv,   And in the toppe was meruailous swete armony both of song & instrument.
1577   R. Holinshed Hist. Eng. 181/2 in Chron. I,   He..wente aboute in Mercia to teach song.
1667   Milton Paradise Lost iii. 29   Smit with the love of sacred song.
1667   Milton Paradise Lost ix. 25   This Subject for Heroic Song Pleas'd me.
1791   W. Cowper Judgm. Poets 17   To poets of renown in song, The nymphs referr'd the cause.
1808   Scott Marmion i. Introd. xvi. 17   The mightiest chiefs of British song Scorned not such legends to prolong.
1849   T. B. Macaulay Hist. Eng. I. i. 30   As eloquence exists before syntax, and song before prosody.
1878   in G. P. Lathrop Masque of Poets 11   Sing! Sing of what? The world is full of song!

c888—1878(Hide quotations)

 
 2.

 a. A metrical composition adapted for singing, esp. one in rhyme and having a regular verse-form; occas., a poem.

α.
c897   K. Ælfred tr. Gregory Pastoral Care 409   Ða singað ðone sang ðe nan mon elles singan ne mæg.
971   Blickl. Hom. 45   Þa þe on heofenum syndon, hi þingiaþ for þa þe þyssum sange fylgeaþ.
a1200   Vices & Virtues 15   Ða aingles of heuene..sunge ðane derewurðe sang, Gloria in exselsis deo.
a1300   Cursor Mundi 23   Sanges sere of selcuth rime, Inglis, frankys, and latine.
c1405  (▸c1390)    Chaucer Reeve's Tale (Hengwrt) (2003) l. 250   Herd thow euere slyk a sang er now.
c1440   York Myst. xx. 43   Of sorowes sere schal be my sang.
1533   J. Gau tr. C. Pedersen Richt Vay 16   Thay that prouokis ony ewil desir..with sangis or wordis or foul takine.
c1540  (▸?a1400)    Destr. Troy 3474   Why fare ye thus now, With..sanges of myrthe.
1596   J. Dalrymple tr. J. Leslie Hist. Scotl. (1888) I. 74   To sing sangs of joy and blythnes.
17..   A. Ramsay Addr. to Town Council 6   Sweet Edie's funeral-sang.
1786   R. Burns Poems 196   There was ae sang, amang the rest, Aboon them a' it pleas'd me best.
β.
c825   Vesp. Psalter xxxii. 3   Singað him song neowne.
c1175   Lamb. Hom. 63   Godes songes beoð alle gode; to þere saule heo senden fode.
a1250   Owl & Nightingale 722   Vor-þi me singþ in holi chirche, An clerkes ginneþ songes wirche.
c1275  (▸?a1200)    Laȝamon Brut (Calig.) (1963) l. 3492   He cuðen al þeos songes. & þat gleo of ilcche londe.
c1330  (▸?a1300)    Sir Tristrem (1886) l. 2654   Of ysonde he made a song.
1340   Ayenbite (1866) 68   Þe holi gost..makeþ his ychosene zinge ine hare herten þe zuete zonges of heuene.
c1425   Cast. Persev. 2336 in Macro Plays 147,   iij mens songys to syngyn lowde.
1470–85   Malory Morte d'Arthur x. xxxi. 464   The harper had songe his songe to the ende.
1560   J. Daus tr. J. Sleidane Commentaries f. ccxxxviijv,   Dyuerse Songes beesydes accustomed in churches doe instructe vs of the benefite of Chryst.
1598   R. Barnfield Encomion Lady Pecunia iii. sig. A4v,   And adde some Musique, to a merry Songue.
1649   F. Roberts Clavis Bibliorum (ed. 2) 384   Songs being choice succinct pieces gratefull to the eare, helpfull to the memory and delightful to the heart.
1667   Milton Paradise Lost i. 13   My adventrous Song.
1667   Milton Paradise Lost iii. 413   Thy Name Shall be the copious matter of my Song.
1718   Free-thinker No. 69. 2   Much of the same Nature with our Song of Britons strike Home.
1776   Gibbon Decline & Fall I. x. 244   On the faith of ancient songs, the uncertain..memorials of barbarians.
1820   Shelley To Skylark in Prometheus Unbound 205   Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.
1878   E. J. Trelawny Rec. Shelley, Byron ix. 109   Inspiring it towards songs and other poetry.

c825—1878(Hide quotations)

 

 b. the Song of Solomon , Song of Songs, one of the books of the Old Testament.

a1382   Bible (Wycliffite, E.V.) (Douce 369(1)) (1850) Song of Sol. (heading)    Heer gynneth the booc that is clepid Songus [v.r. Song] of Songis.
1568   Bible (Bishops') (headline)    The songue of Solomon.
1579   W. Fulke Heskins Parl. Repealed in D. Heskins Ouerthrowne 7   He nameth..the book of Psalmes,..and the Song of Salomon.
1611   Bible (A.V.) Song of Sol. i. 1   The song of songs, which is Solomons.
1611   Bible (A.V.) Song of Sol. i. 1 (heading)    Solomons song.
1781   T. Warton Hist. Eng. Poetry III. xxxvi. 317   There were numerous versions of Solomon's Song before the year 1600.
1803   Good (title) ,   Song of Songs: or, Sacred Idyls. Translated from The Original Hebrew.
1856   S. Davidson Biblical Crit. ii. 19   The song of Deborah exhibits such [dialectal] appearances. So does the Song of Solomon.

a1382—1856(Hide quotations)

 

 c. Naut. (See quot. 1867.)

1867   W. H. Smyth Sailor's Word-bk. 638   Song, the call of soundings by the leadsman in the channels.

1867—1867(Hide quotations)

 

 d. Music. A musical setting or composition adapted for singing or suggestive of a song. song without words, an instrumental composition in the style of a song (after Mendelssohn's title ‘Lieder ohne Worte’); also transf.

1871   S. Smiles Character viii. 219   Cheerfulness..gives harmony of soul, and is a perpetual song without words.
1876   J. Stainer & W. A. Barrett Dict. Musical Terms 406/1   The second subject of a sonata is sometimes called the ‘Song’.
1883   Grove's Dict. Music III. 368/1   The Song, as we know it in his [Schubert's] hands,..set to no simple Volkslieder, but to long complex poems,..—such songs were his and his alone.
1883   R. Prentice Musician ii. 95   The second movement [of a Beethoven sonata] is a veritable Song without Words.
1938   Oxf. Compan. Music 885/1   Song without words, a term introduced by Mendelssohn to cover a type of one-movement pianoforte solo, throughout which a well-marked song-like melody progresses, with an accompaniment.
1974   Encycl. Brit. Macropædia XI. 902/1   She [sc. Fanny Mendelssohn] had herself written some of the Songs Without Words attributed to her brother.

1871—1974(Hide quotations)

 

 e. transf. A sound as of singing.

a1822   Shelley Triumph of Life (1824) 463   That falling stream's Lethean song.
1877   Daily News 3 Nov. 6   New troops without a military history, who have never heard the song of an enemy's bullets.
1895   J. C. Snaith Dorothy Marvin xii,   The song of metal filled the room.

a1822—1895(Hide quotations)

 

 3. The musical utterance of certain birds.In Old English also used of the cry of the sea-gull and eagle.

a1000   Boeth. Metr. xiii. 50   Fugelas..stunað eal geador welwinsum sanc.
?c1200   Ormulum (Burchfield transcript) l. 7931   Wop wass uss bitacnedd wel Þurrh cullfre. & turrtle baþe. Forr þeȝȝre sang iss lic wiþþ wop.
a1250   Owl & Nightingale 221   Þu miht mid þine songe afere Alle þat hereþ þine ibere.
c1386   Chaucer Manciple's Tale 201   To the crowe he stert,..And made him blak, and raft him al his song.
1484   Caxton tr. Subtyl Historyes & Fables Esope iv. iv,   The goddes..haue gyuen..to the nyghtyngale fayr & playsaunt songe.
1552   T. Wilson Rule of Reason (rev. ed.) sig. Xvij,   Self willed folke..vse oft the cuckowes song.
1590   Spenser Faerie Queene ii. vi. sig. R3v,   No bird, but did her shrill notes sweetely sing; No song but did containe a louely ditt.
1667   Milton Paradise Lost v. 41   The night-warbling Bird, that now awake Tunes sweetest his love-labor'd song.
1725   R. Bradley Chomel's Dictionaire Œconomique at Canary-Bird,   To make a right choice of this Bird, and to know when he has a good Song.
1774   Philos. Trans. (Royal Soc.) 63 290   What is called the song of the Canary bird.
1816   J. K. Tuckey Narr. Exped. River Zaire (1818) i. 31   A very small warbler, the only one that appeared to have any song.
1877   R. Jefferies Gamekeeper at Home (1890) vii. 169   All the birds whose song makes them valuable.

a1000—1877(Hide quotations)

 
 4.
 

 a. In various transf. or fig. uses.The sense ‘a subject or theme of song’ occurs in several passages of the Wycliffite (see quot. a1382) and later versions of the Bible.

OE   Beowulf 787   Þara þe..gehyrdon, gryreleoð galan Godes andsacan, sigeleasne sang.
OE   Beowulf 2447   He gyd wrece, sarigne sang, þonne his sunu hangað.
a1382   Bible (Wycliffite, E.V.) (Douce 369(1)) (1850) Job xxx. 9   Now forsothe I am turned in to the song of hem.
1382   Bible (Wycliffite, E.V.) Lam. iii. 14.  
14..   Sir Beues (MS M.) 1232   For sone thy songe shall be: welawey!
1436   Pol. Poems (Rolls) II. 154   At the sowth-west corner Off gonnes he had a song; That anon he left that place.
c1450   Jacob's Well (1900) 155   Þe feend makyth his men to synge þe song of helle, þat is, ‘allas & welleaway’.
1548   N. Udall et al. tr. Erasmus Paraphr. Newe Test. I. Mark vii. 52   The foresayed songe was songen in vaine to the deafe Phariseis.
1576   A. Fleming tr. P. Manutius in Panoplie Epist. 325   Sing this song to others.
1597   Shakespeare Richard III iv. iv. 438   Out on you owles, nothing but songs off death.
1621   T. W. tr. S. Goulart Wise Vieillard 76   The ordinarie burthen of their song is, that all the world is naught.
1653   H. Binning Serm. (1845) 597   Many listen to the Song of Justification, but they will not abide to hear out all the Song.
1707   Lockhart Papers (1817) I. 223   He returned it to the clerk..with this despising and contemning remark, ‘Now there's ane end of ane old song’.
1872   A. T. de Vere Legends St. Patrick 124   Shall I lengthen out my days Toothless,..Some losel's song?

OE—1872(Hide quotations)

 
 

 b. In phrases denoting continuance or change in statements, attitude, etc.

1390   J. Gower Confessio Amantis I. 260   Now schalt thou singe an other song.
1560   J. Daus tr. J. Sleidane Commentaries f. cccxciijv,   It is the self same song, that hath ben songen now many yeres.
1707   E. Ward Wooden World Dissected (1708) 97   It's the same old Song of Stark Love and Kindness, which they have pip'd to each other these many Years.
1786   R. Burns Poems 34   She'll teach you, wi' a reekan whittle, Anither sang.
1796   Grose's Classical Dict. Vulgar Tongue (ed. 3) (at cited word),   He changed his song; he altered his account or evidence.
1822   Scott Fortunes of Nigel I. ii. 43   Let me catch ye in Barford's Park, I could gar some of ye sing another sang.

1390—1822(Hide quotations)

 

 c. A fuss or outcry about something.

1843   Cracks about Kirk II. 9   Thae convocation chiels that are makin' sic a sang aboot their sufferings.
1863   C. E. L. Riddell World in Church II. 157   She had foreborne likewise and no one made a song about it.

1843—1863(Hide quotations)

 

 d. a song in one's heart , a feeling of joy or pleasure.

1930   L. Hart With a Song in my Heart 4   With a song in my heart;—I behold your adorable face.
1946   Hansard Commons 9 Apr. 1807,   I will find, and find with a song in my heart, whatever money is necessary to finance useful and practical proposals for developing these areas.
1978   Times 9 Jan. 13/1   Does the lending rate come down? Then every conservative owner-occupier has a song in his heart.

1930—1978(Hide quotations)

 

 e. on (full) song , in good form, performing well. colloq.

1967   Autocar 27 Dec. 10/1   The close and even spacing of the ratios..make it easy to keep the engine ‘on full song’ during hard driving.
1971   Daily Tel. 21 Aug. 16/1   As the table reveals, most of the leading unit trust managers have at least one fund that is ‘on song’.
1974   Observer 3 Feb. 24/5   Really on song since beating Manchester City in the Cup, Forest won 5–1.
1981   Radio Times 11 Apr. 23/2   If you are on song nothing will break your concentration.

1967—1981(Hide quotations)

 
 5. Used to denote a very small or trifling sum, amount, or value, or a thing of little worth or importance. Freq. an old (also a mere) song .

 a. In the phr. for a(n old) song , for a mere trifle, for little or nothing.

(a)
a1616   Shakespeare All's Well that ends Well (1623) iii. ii. 9,   I know a man that had this tricke of melancholy hold a goodly Mannor for a song.
a1639   W. Whately Prototypes (1640) ii. xxvi. 25   To have so little esteem of the outward means of salvation, as to part with them for a song as we say.
1706   tr. J. B. Morvan de Bellegarde Refl. upon Ridicule 270   He retrenches the number of his Servants or their Wages, and would have them serve as they say, for a Song.
1751   H. Walpole Lett. (1846) II. 395   The whole-length Vandykes went for a song!
1808   Z. M. Pike Acct. Exped. Sources Mississippi i. App. 10   You will perceive that we have obtained about 100000 acres for a song.
1865   Dickens Our Mutual Friend II. iii. xvii. 158,   I assure you, the things were going for a song.
1890   A. Jessopp Trials Country Parson iv. 173   A brief report was published, and may be purchased now for a song.
(b)
1650   H. More Observ. in Enthusiasmus Triumphatus (1656) 78   Truth is not to be had of God Almighty for an old Song.
1659   T. Burton Diary (1828) III. 239   Haply he compounded for an old song.
1705   Philos. Trans. 1704–05 (Royal Soc.) 24 1997   An old Book might be bought for an old Song, (as we say).
1796   Grose's Classical Dict. Vulgar Tongue (ed. 3) (at cited word),   It was bought for an old song, i.e. very cheap.
1824   Byron Don Juan: Canto XVI lix. 93   The cost would be a trifle—an ‘old song’ Set to some thousands.
1889   T. A. Trollope What I Remember III. 32   They were acquired ‘for an old song’.

a1616—1890(Hide quotations)

 
 

 b. In other uses.

1798   W. Sotheby tr. C. M. Wieland Oberon ii. xxix. 53   Oh, fly, Sir! or your life's not worth a song!
1854   ‘M. Harland’ Alone xxvi,   Some care, some responsibility—that is a mere song, though.
1879   ‘H. Stretton’ Through Needle's Eye II. 208   It was a pretty place once, but now it's hardly worth an old song.

1798—1879(Hide quotations)

 
 6. song and dance.

 a. A form of entertainment (spec. a vaudeville act) consisting of singing and dancing. Freq. attrib. orig. U.S.

[1628   World Encompassed by Sir F. Drake 76   They yet continued their song and dance a reasonable time.]
1872   S. Hale Let. 16 Jan. (1918) iii. 78   He did a ‘Song and Dance’, two, in fact.
1872   Chicago Tribune 13 Oct. 5/6   First week of the distinguished song and dance artists.
1895   N.Y. Dramatic News 23 Nov. 13/3   The first double song and dance team was comprised of Wash Norton and Ben Cotton.
1940   Chatelaine Apr. 36/2,   I practiced my song-and-dance act for weeks.
1959   R. Longrigg Wrong Number iv. 58   So up she pops from hell or wherever, just the time for a bit of song and dance.
1968   Radio Times 28 Nov. 53/1   The song-and-dance patter comedian.
1977   Time Out 17 June 47/2   Pleasant Nilsson-like song 'n' dance numbers.

1872—1977(Hide quotations)

 

 b. fig. A rigmarole, an elaborately contrived story or entreaty, a fuss or outcry. Also attrib. colloq. (orig. U.S. slang). Cf. sense 4c.

1895   E. W. Townsend Chimmie Fadden 6   Den, 'is whiskers gives me a song an' dance.
1900   B. Matthews Confident To-morrow 9   And it ain't a song-and-dance I'm giving you either.
1913   R. Kipling Divers. Creatures (1917) 292,   I don't see how this song and dance helps us any.
1922   S. Lewis Babbitt xxxii. 375   George, what's this I hear about some song and dance you gave Colonel Snow about not wanting to join the G.C.L.?
1949   Time 5 Sept. 2/3   Labor Leader Preble..was not impressed by ‘the song and dance about [Stefan's] mother and sister being persecuted and murdered’.
1958   E. Dundy Dud Avocado iii. vi. 266   If only he hadn't felt obliged to make such a song and dance about it.
1967   ‘S. Woods’ And shame Devil 118   ‘'Appen tha means well,’ he said, his speech suddenly broadened almost out of all recognition, ‘and 'appen tha's joost making a song and dance.’
1980   J. Ditton Copley's Hunch ii. ii. 132   The Prime Minister wants to make a song and dance about it.

1895—1980(Hide quotations)

 

Compounds

 C1. Special combs.

  song-ballet   n.  (a) U.S. dial., a ballad;  (b) a theatrical work combining songs and ballet.

1915   Dial. Notes 4 190   Song-ballet, n., a song or ballad.
1938   Sun (Baltimore) 15 June 6/7   Visitors will join the mountaineers to sing their ‘song ballets’.
1962   W. H. Auden Dyer's Hand (1963) 484   We have translated..Brecht's text for the song-ballet Die sieben Todsünden with music by Kurt Weill.

1915—1962(Hide quotations)

 

  song-box   n. the syrinx of a bird.

1899   J. A. Thomson Sci. of Life 187   The bird's song is nothing to the morphologist, except in so far as the anatomy of the syrinx or song-box is concerned.

1899—1899(Hide quotations)

 

  song-cycle   n.  [compare German liederzyklus] a series of songs intended to form one musical entity, and having words dealing with related subjects.

1899   Westm. Gaz. 3 May 3/3   Two song-cycles made up his programme yesterday.
1942   E. Blom Mus. in Eng. x. 168   Arthur Somervell's settings of poems from Tennyson's ‘Maud’, which have remained among the world's few great song-cycles.
1978   Listener 30 Mar. 412/4   A mature song-cycle by Dallapiccola.

1899—1978(Hide quotations)

 

  song-flight   n. (a) flight of a characteristic pattern made by a bird as it sings in a territorial display.

1936   Nicholson & Koch Songs of Wild Birds 9   Song-flight is an extra means of making the singer temporarily as conspicuous as possible.
1961   A. J. Berger Bird Study vi. 186   Song, song flights, and other special displays serve an orientation function: they attract a female to the male's territory or to a nest site.

1936—1961(Hide quotations)

 

  song-form   n.  [translating German liedform] Music, a form used in the composition of songs; spec. the form of a simple melody with simple accompaniment or that of a work in three sections of which the third is a repetition of the first.

1884   R. Prentice Musician: Grade 3 4   The simplest song-form is constructed on two or three sentences only.
1902   H. C. Banister Mus. Anal. i. 2   There is a term now in vogue to designate the simplest of all plans or forms: ‘Song-Form’ or ‘Aria-Form’.
1946   R. Blesh Shining Trumpets (1949) v. 109   The blues are essentially a song form.
1954   Grove's Dict. Music (ed. 5) VII. 962/2   The term ‘song form,’ derived from the German, has unfortunately been used by different writers with different significations. The vagueness which results and the fact that the term is not happily chosen gives rise to doubts whether it had not better be entirely abandoned.

1884—1954(Hide quotations)

 

  song-fowl   n. poet. = song-bird n. 1.

1877   G. M. Hopkins Poems (1967) 71   Not that the sweet-fowl, song-fowl, needs no rest.

1877—1877(Hide quotations)

 

  song-grosbeak   n. one or other species of the American genus Zamelodia.

1839   J. J. Audubon Synopsis Birds N. Amer. 132   Coccoborus, Song-Grosbeak. Coccoborus cæruleus, Blue Song-Grosbeak.
1884   E. Coues Key to N. Amer. Birds 389   Zamelodia ludoviciana, Rose-breasted Song Grosbeak. Zamelodia melanocephala, Black-headed Song Grosbeak.

1839—1884(Hide quotations)

 

  song-hit   n. colloq. a song which is a popular success.

1914   ‘High Jinks, Jr.’ Choice Slang 18   Song hit, a popular song.
1918   Talking Machine News & Jrnl. Amusements Feb. 83 (advt.)    All the song-hits of the moment.
1959   ‘F. Newton’ Jazz Scene 9   Pop, pop music, popular entertainment music as typified by the ‘song-hit’.

1914—1959(Hide quotations)

 

  song-motet   n. a simple type of motet.

1942   H. Hewitt Harmonice Musices Odhecaton vi. 69   A few ‘song-motets’ find a place in the Odhecaton.
1974   Early Music Oct. 219   Some of his [sc. Dufay's] most elegant Latin compositions..are dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and their treble-dominated texture and lyrical charm—they resemble chansons in many ways—explain why they are called song-motets.

1942—1974(Hide quotations)

 
 

  song-muscle   n. (see quot. 1885).

1885   A. Newton in Encycl. Brit. XVIII. 29   [As] by the action of the syringeal muscles..the sounds uttered by the Bird are modified, they are properly called the Song-muscles.

1885—1885(Hide quotations)

 

  song-perch   n. a place where a bird perches to sing, so as to establish its territory.

1934   British Birds XXVIII. 15   If a male is on his song perch when his hen quits her eggs, he usually follows her..to her feeding ground.
1975   I. Rowley Bird Life v. 61   The kookaburra defends a large area, but in particular a number of song perches.

1934—1975(Hide quotations)

 

  song period   n. the part of the year during which the birds of a species sing.

1908   British Birds I. 367   In the middle of the song-period all the individuals of a species found in any locality sing every day.
1961   A. J. Berger Bird Study vi. 171   Many species have a short song period (post-breeding) after the molt has been completed.

1908—1961(Hide quotations)

 

  song-plug   v. (trans.)

1927   Daily Express 22 Sept. 9/3   ‘Clap Yo' Hands’ must have been song-plugged for ten minutes right off... ‘Do-Do-Do’ is another song-plugged number.

1927—1927(Hide quotations)

 

  song-plugger   n. orig. U.S. a person employed to popularize songs, esp. by performing them repeatedly.

1923   N.Y. Times 7 Oct. ix. 2/1   Song plugger, a retiring representative of a song publisher planted in the audience to call for songs, whistle refrains and applaud.
1927   Melody Maker May 437/1   Song pluggers are..vocalists lent by the music publishers to the dance bands just for the nights on which these bands are due to broadcast, and, of course, sing only their employer's numbers.
1976   R. Sanders in D. Villiers Next Year in Jerusalem 208   Gershwin..embarked upon his musical career at sixteen as a Tin Pan Alley song plugger and composer.

1923—1976(Hide quotations)

 

  song-plugging   n.

1927   Melody Maker May 433 (heading)    Song-plugging thro' the ages.
1972   P. Black Biggest Aspidistra i. iii. 29   The song-plugging wave did not recede until 1948, when the BBC and the publishers managed to draw up an agreement.

1927—1972(Hide quotations)

 

  song-post   n. = song-perch n.   above.

1938   British Birds XXXI. 320   The habitat was on open grassy ground with stones and sallow bushes as ‘song posts’.

1938—1938(Hide quotations)

 

  song stylist   n. a singer admired for his or her style.

1938   Sun (Baltimore) 15 June 6/7   Special guests will be..Miss Florence Clark, of Detroit, noted song stylist.
1973   Black Panther 24 Mar. 7/1   Elaine Brown, community activist..is also a musician, composer, lyricist and song stylist.

1938—1973(Hide quotations)

 

  song-tide   n. time of divine service.

1853   D. Rock Church our Fathers III. ii. 14   If wayfaring..had hindered him from being with his brethren at public song-tide in the house of God.

1853—1853(Hide quotations)

 

  song-voice   n. the voice as used in the act of singing.

1842   Penny Cycl. XXII. 431/2   The glottis must be disciplined.., and proceed gradually from the song-voice to that of speech.

1842—1842(Hide quotations)

 
 C2. General attrib.
 a. Simple attrib.
 

  songcraft n.  [compare Old English sang-, songcræft]

1855   H. W. Longfellow Hiawatha Introd. 8   A half-effaced inscription, Written with little skill of song-craft.
1880   W. Watson Prince's Quest 60   Seeing his charmed songcraft of no might Him to ensnare.

1855—1880(Hide quotations)

 
 

  song-feast   n.

1763   J. Brown Diss. Poetry & Music iv. 36   While these..Savages continue in their present unlettered State.., no material Improvements in their Song-Feasts can arise.

1763—1763(Hide quotations)

 
 

  songland   n.

1881   Blackwood's Edinb. Mag. Apr. 517   The bleak solitudes of the Song~land on the Border.

1881—1881(Hide quotations)

 
 

  song lyric   n.

1944   C. Day Lewis Poetry for You vi. 61   The chief thing which poets took over from the song-lyric and preserved in the new lyrical poetry was..‘singleness of mind’.

1944—1944(Hide quotations)

 
 

  song music n.

1884   Harper's Mag. Mar. 537/2   Two pieces of song-music.

1884—1884(Hide quotations)

 
 

  song note   n.

1842   Penny Cycl. XXII. 429/1   Audible sound, which may possess the distinctions of song-notes (musical sounds).

1842—1842(Hide quotations)

 
 

  song scrap   n.

1845   R. Browning Lett. (1899) I. 17   These scenes and song-scraps are such mere escapes of my inner power.

1845—1845(Hide quotations)

 
 

  song sequence   n.

1947   A. Einstein Music Romantic Era xiv. 187   With Op. 24, the Heine song-sequence, he [sc. Schumann] began to write lieder.

1947—1947(Hide quotations)

 
 

  song sheet   n.

1930   P. Geddes et al. (title)    Song-sheet and welcomes.
1967   A. L. Lloyd Folk Song in Eng. i. 29   The countless Sorrowful Lamentations of hanged men did not become anchored in tradition..perhaps because the song-sheets bearing these effusions are of late appearance.

1930—1967(Hide quotations)

 
 

  song strain   n.

1876   G. M. Hopkins Poems (1967) 176   So tiny a trickle of sóng-strain.

1876—1876(Hide quotations)

 
 

  song stream   n.

1845   W. Stevenson in Church of Scotl. Pulpit I. 84   It is only from the full..heart that a song-stream of devotion can freely flow.

1845—1845(Hide quotations)

 
 

  song talk   n.

1884   R. Jefferies Life of Fields 60   The song-talk of the finches rises and sinks like the tinkle of a waterfall.

1884—1884(Hide quotations)

 
 

  song tune   n.

1809   E. Cutler Diary 28 Aug. in J. P. Cutler Life & Times E. Cutler (1890) v. 98   Very soon a man began to sing a hymn in a familiar song-tune.
1824   L. L. Cameron Marten & Scholars viii. 49   John..began presently to whistle a song-tune.
1967   A. L. Lloyd Folk Song in Eng. iii. 139   As feudal society gives way to capitalism..recitative melodies are replaced by song-tunes.

1809—1967(Hide quotations)

 
 

  song warble   n.

1885   Encycl. Brit. XIX. 273/1   That true song-warble which we get in the stornelli and rispetti of the Italian peasants.

1885—1885(Hide quotations)

 
 b. Objective.
 (a)
 

  song-composer   n.

1947   A. Einstein Music Romantic Era xiv. 184   There were no Italian song-composers.

1947—1947(Hide quotations)

 
 

  song-composition   n.

1947   A. Einstein Music Romantic Era xiv. 191   The procession of musicians who contributed to Romantic song-composition.

1947—1947(Hide quotations)

 
 

  song-enditer   n.

1713   N. Rowe Jane Shore Prol.,   Those venerable ancient Song-Enditers Soar'd many a Pitch above our modern Writers.

1713—1713(Hide quotations)

 
 

  song-maker   n.

1787   R. Burns Let. 1 June (2001) I. 120   It's true, she's as poor 's a Sang-maker.
1892   E. Reeves Homeward Bound 10   The rich..harmonies of later songmakers.

1787—1892(Hide quotations)

 
 

  song-singer   n.

1733   Weekly Reg. 8 Dec.,   Clerks of kitchens, song-singers, horse-racers, valets-de-chambre.

1733—1733(Hide quotations)

 
 

  song-wright   n.

1892   Athenæum 23 July 124/3   He places Herrick above Shakspeare as a song~wright.

1892—1892(Hide quotations)

 
 

  song-writer   n.

1821   Mrs. Hemans in H. F. Chorley Mem. (1837) I. 83   This being my first appearance before the public as a song-writer.
1885   Encycl. Brit. XIX. 273/1   His songs illustrate an infirmity which even the Scottish song-writers share with the English.

1821—1885(Hide quotations)

 
 (b)
 

  song-singing adj. and n.

1743   P. Francis & W. Dunkin tr. Horace Odes II. iii. x. 53   Thy Husband, who gives up his Heart for a Ditty To a Song-singing Wench.
1839   D. D. Black Hist. Brechin vii. 157   Zealous song-singing ladies.
1848   W. Allingham Diary 26 Sept. (1907) ii. 43   Dine at Peter Kelly's,..much song-singing afterwards.
1888   R. Buchanan Heir of Linne ii,   Peasants and fishermen enjoyed his gifts of conversation and song-singing.

1743—1888(Hide quotations)

 
 

  song-writing   n. and adj.

1772   J. Aikin (title)    Essays on song-writing.
1809   Belfast Monthly Mag. Mar. 164/2,   I promise..method in my handling the theory and practice of song~writing.
1810   J. Aikin (title) ,   Essays on Song-Writing.
1885   Encycl. Brit. XIX. 273   Here, indeed, is the crowning difficulty of song-writing.
1947   A. Einstein Music Romantic Era iv. 35   The song-writing Berlin purists.

1772—1947(Hide quotations)

 
 c. Miscellaneous.
 

  song-fraught adj.

1855   P. J. Bailey Mystic 32   Song-fraught wavelets lipped with light.

1855—1855(Hide quotations)

 
 

  song-like adj.

1862   F. W. Faber Hymns i. 128   Songlike breezes ever blowing.

1862—1862(Hide quotations)

 
 

  song-rapt adj.

1885   W. B. Yeats in Dublin Univ. Rev. July 137   A wandering song-rapt bird.

1885—1885(Hide quotations)

 
 

  song-timed adj.

c1873   J. Addis Elizabethan Echoes (1879) 94   Circled with Mænads' song-timed, dance-timed bounds.

c1873—c1873(Hide quotations)

 
 

  song-tuned adj.

1859   Ld. Lytton Wanderer (ed. 2) 205   Take from the wall now, my song-tuned Lyre.

1859—1859(Hide quotations)

 
 

  song-wild adj.

1937   E. Blunden Elegy 15   The flight of one small song-wild lark Finds heaven.

1937—1937(Hide quotations)

 
 

  song-worthy adj.

1856   C. Patmore Espousals i, in Angel in House II. 12   More Song-worthy and heroic things Than..War.

1856—1856(Hide quotations)