Definition of sing in English:



  • 1[no object] Make musical sounds with the voice, especially words with a set tune:

    ‘Bella sang to the baby’
    • ‘Bickley's slightly edgy tone, combined with a warm voice, works well in this music; she sings with a good line and a nice feel for Handel's style.’
    • ‘Every time this folk singer sings in her guttural voice, she draws a motley audience around her courtyard.’
    • ‘A few can sing in tune before the age of two, while some studies suggest that children may able to respond to music even before they are born.’
    • ‘Forty male voices sang in spell-binding chorus, softening at moments and then rising, fortified, to a crescendo.’
    • ‘And those closing strains die away, and the finale begins, a faint chorus of distant voices singing in unison, the orchestra silent.’
    • ‘Deborah sings almost everything between Mozart and Maxwell Davies, and has a lovely voice!’
    • ‘Make a tape of your own voice talking or singing to the baby.’
    • ‘This opens strikingly with the high voices singing unaccompanied in unison.’
    • ‘She played it to the hilt as an over-inebriated soprano trying to sing in an operetta.’
    • ‘Their range and tessitura increases and, with training, children are singing well over an octave in tune and in time by the end of first grade.’
    • ‘She always turned up on time and sang with full voice - but only in Italian, regarding other languages as unmusical.’
    • ‘The Dresden State Orchestra turns in their usual fine playing here and the Saxon State Opera Chorus sings splendidly, as well.’
    • ‘Listen to how slowly, how deliberately John McCormack sang, caressing each word.’
    • ‘Even if other voices joined the bass in some or all of the verses, a low adult male voice certainly sang throughout, as if to underscore the psalm's sombre mood.’
    • ‘At some time in their lives, they've played the piano, flute, clarinet, violin and cello and sung in choirs.’
    • ‘In parallel to her opera career, she also sang for Handel in the oratorio seasons.’
    • ‘He didn't pay much attention to anything but the rainy road until he heard a soft voice singing with the chorus.’
    • ‘I sang in tune but couldn't harmonize with the players, couldn't memorize the lyrics and I had no rhythm.’
    • ‘In contrast, the countertenors of the past sang in full voice, resorting to falsetto only at the high range.’
    • ‘Both groups sang very much in tune, but unlike, say, certain more modern groups, intonation never excited you by itself.’
    chant, intone, croon, carol, chorus, warble, trill, pipe, quaver
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    1. 1.1[with object] Perform (a song, words, or tune) by making musical sounds with the voice:
      ‘I asked her to sing some carols’
      ‘the singing of hymns in Latin’
      • ‘He sang folk songs and show tunes like Maria, a big favourite in the Soviet Union.’
      • ‘She could hear lots of laughter, endless and melodious, mingling with sweet beautiful music and songs sung by heavenly voices.’
      • ‘These students, especially, should be encouraged to sing aloud the words of the pieces in their method books simultaneously with their playing.’
      • ‘And they sang hymns and patriotic songs and show tunes and everything.’
      • ‘After a couple of songs the members sang ditties from the latest movies.’
      • ‘The psalmist sings this song of God's love and faithfulness to the great congregation.’
      • ‘Also on Saturday the Calne Choral Society will be singing Haydn's Nelson Mass at John Bentley School at 7.30 pm.’
      • ‘Many of the performers sang labor songs of the 1930s, civil rights songs of the 1960s, peace songs of many decades.’
      • ‘Pupils at Ruskin Junior School sang carols and songs.’
      • ‘The prize item was Debussy's Proses Lyriques, four songs set to the composer's own poetry and for some reason not often sung in recital.’
      • ‘We were singing songs from a musical called Phantom of the Opera.’
      • ‘As I write this, forty years later, I've signed up to sing that very chorus with my local symphony this year.’
      • ‘We enjoyed each other's company and sang songs to God.’
      • ‘Withers has a beautiful tone but she hides behind this, allowing it to speak over the words she is singing.’
      • ‘It became the song sung by Stephen repeating God's proclamation that redemption is found in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ.’
      • ‘As scary as it is for me I love it because I can look out and see everybody singing the song word for word.’
      • ‘They revived the handbell choir, answering God's invitation to sing a new song.’
      • ‘To add to the atmosphere, members of Newport Choir and friends sang carols and Christmas songs under the Christmas Tree.’
      • ‘After a dramatic recitative which Genaux sings with some interesting vocal color, the aria is as light and as refreshing as a cool breeze.’
      • ‘I love being able to sing carols and Christmas songs.’
      chant, intone, croon, carol, chorus, warble, trill, pipe, quaver
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    2. 1.2sing along Sing in accompaniment to a song or piece of music:
      ‘we sing along to all the songs’
      • ‘Because when people used to singing in harmonies start to sing along, they sing along in harmony.’
      • ‘You do not need a music background for singing along with video karaoke.’
      • ‘She was singing along to some Celtic music belting out from her stereo.’
      • ‘He kept the door open, and was outside in the hall singing along with the music.’
      • ‘I stomped around and laughed while she wiggled, pranced and sang along to the music like all the other teenagers.’
      • ‘The stage was closer than she had expected and everyone was singing along with the music.’
      • ‘Eccentric behavior in unlikely settings: in Ghost Dog, for example, a Mafia boss admires rap music and sings along with it.’
      • ‘Stan began to sing along with the music, but fell short of knowing more than a few lines of each song.’
      • ‘From what he could hear, there was now an extra voice singing along with the music.’
      • ‘Eventually, everyone sang along with the flowing melody while moving about the room in syncopation.’
      • ‘She couldn't make herself sing along with the music that was playing through the receiver.’
      • ‘My feel my eyes widen when she sings along to the music in perfect pitch.’
      • ‘Usually when I feel depressed, I just listen to music and sing along to the songs.’
      • ‘She could hear Chloe singing along to the music, and she wondered if she had woken up in a dream.’
      • ‘I shook my head in tune with the music, singing along with it at the top of my lungs.’
      • ‘The audience joined in the banter and sang along to musical hall songs.’
      • ‘Tommy sings along to the music, reaching a gold framed mirror above the fireplace on the last beat.’
      • ‘I was too busy singing along quietly to the music which was swelling up from a speaker at the front of the bus.’
      • ‘All that's missing are the lyrics, but true fans of the music can sing along instead.’
      • ‘People like to sing along with music discs, or at least they like to know all the words.’
    3. 1.3sing something out[with object] Call something out loudly:
      ‘he sang out a greeting’
      • ‘Is there anything more serious than joy, the dangerous freedom of singing it out?’
      • ‘As they neared the quay, youthful voices sang out a greeting.’
      call out, call, cry, cry out, shout, yell, trumpet, bellow, roar
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    4. 1.4 (of a bird) make characteristic melodious whistling and twittering sounds:
      ‘the birds were singing in the trees’
      • ‘The sounds of morning birds singing and chirping cheerfully could be heard all around.’
      • ‘The birds were chirping and singing gaily as they came in.’
      • ‘Tall, thick-branched trees surrounded her and there was nothing but the sounds of the birds singing amidst the trees.’
      • ‘Big-city noise levels prompt birds to sing louder in order to be heard by other birds over the din, according to research by German ornithologists.’
      • ‘The bird began to sing still more melodically, and then fluttered its wings and flew from its branch, hovering just out of Bogo's reach.’
      • ‘There are no bombs in this world; the sounds are just of tree growing and birds singing.’
      • ‘Taking a walk in the woods while the birds chirp and sing, lounging on the beach listening to the waves roll in and out along the shore… I could go on and on.’
      • ‘The first time I've seen you know I've heard some birds singing in the trees.’
      • ‘Another morning, bright and clear in every direction, birds chirped and sung in the trees, but none flew this day.’
      • ‘The wind stopped whistling through the trees, the birds stopped singing, and time seemed to just stand still.’
      • ‘However he did get his wish as now he rests under the tall trees where the birds sing in Tourlestrane churchyard.’
      • ‘Like most birds, zebra finches sing as the sun rises.’
      • ‘The birds were singing and animals were chattering all over the forest.’
      • ‘The quiet settled in like a warm blanket, no birds sang, no crickets chirped.’
      • ‘The sun was shining, birds were singing and the aromatic scent of flowers and trees hung in the air.’
      • ‘Birds were singing, insects were chirping, and people could be heard talking in their homes.’
      • ‘Do birds really sing or do they just open their mouths when the sound comes out?’
      • ‘In summer, the area seems full of energy, with birds singing, flowers blooming and trees reflected in the beautiful water of the lake.’
      • ‘The birds in the trees sang happily to her as she walked along, praising God with as much vigor and thankfulness as they could muster.’
      • ‘He had opened the hotel window and a nice breeze was coming off the ocean, the sun was shining and the birds were singing in the trees.’
      warble, trill, twitter, chirp, chirrup, cheep, peep
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  • 2[no object] Make a high-pitched whistling or buzzing sound:

    ‘the kettle was beginning to sing’
    • ‘Through the enveloping silence came the sound of the wind singing through the passes.’
    • ‘Dad tunes the Kingswood once a month like a classical musician would tune his violin, and the engine sings.’
    1. 2.1 (of a person's ear) be affected with a continuous buzzing sound, especially as the after-effect of a blow or loud noise:
      ‘a stinging slap that made my ear sing’
      • ‘I turned the engine off again and, while my ears sang, I decided that it was perhaps advisable to fit the exhausts after all.’
  • 3informal [no object] Act as an informer to the police:

    ‘as soon as he got put under pressure, he sang like a canary’
    • ‘And she is singing like a canary about the out-of-sync lip synch incident.’
  • 4[with object] Recount or celebrate in poetry or other literature:

    ‘poetry should sing the variety of the human race’
    [no object] ‘these poets sing of the American experience’
    • ‘I have sung of women in three cities, they are all the same.’
    • ‘Think of all the things Sinatra ever sang of.’
    praise, laud, extol, glorify, eulogize, reverence, honour, pay tribute to, pay homage to, salute, hymn
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    1. 4.1archaic [no object] Compose poetry:
      ‘he knew Himself to sing, and build the lofty rhyme’
      • ‘He knew Himself to sing, and build the lofty rhyme.’


  • 1An act or spell of singing:

    ‘we asked him to come back and have a bit of a sing’
    ‘a sponsored sing to pay for the theatre’
    • ‘Everyone likes to have a sing - joining a choir of 30+ members is just the next step.’
    • ‘Film sings have supplanted folk music in the lives of common people.’
    1. 1.1US A meeting for amateur singing.
      • ‘It was toward the end of that job, about fifteen years after leaving the army, that Allie went to a sing at a nearby reservation.’


  • all-singing, all-dancing

    • informal Having a large number and variety of impressive features:

      ‘your PC will become the all-singing, all-dancing box the salesman claimed it would be’
      • ‘It's all-singing, all-dancing and it has a lot of heart.’
      • ‘And if so, look no further than this all-singing, all-dancing, all-credit-card-maxing shopping special.’
      • ‘Ryan continues in his quest to be all-singing, all-dancing, and still has time for fights at poker games.’
      • ‘Umoja is the sort of narrative-less, all-singing, all-dancing, all-kitchen-sink extravaganza that comes critic-proof on arrival.’
      • ‘As the all-singing, all-dancing, no-nonsense nanny, Laura has stepped into one of her biggest roles in the very first stage musical to be based on the original 1934 book.’
      • ‘Other errors and omissions will arise from the fact that the all-singing, all-dancing, all-watching police database is not yet with us, and will not be with us for some time yet.’
      • ‘The event, held at the Albert Halls as the finale of Bolton Festival, featured 30 all-singing, all-dancing youngsters aged 11 to 17.’
      • ‘They wanted this all-singing, all-dancing device with features they weren't going to use anyway.’
      • ‘We can work with small groups through to an all-singing, all-dancing literally major event involving thousands of people.’
      • ‘Each begins with the process of drawing, but operates with an awareness that unless it's all-singing, all-dancing or playing some kind of visual trick, we might not bother to look closely.’
  • sing a different tune (or song)

    • Change one's opinion about or attitude towards someone or something.

      • ‘But these days, the businessman mayor is singing a different tune.’
      • ‘On Friday, workers sang a different tune from the previous sounds of confrontation.’
      • ‘As one who's been at the battlefront, angrily detailing Hollywood's outrages against women for these many years, it's a relief to be singing a different tune and hoping the music lasts.’
      • ‘‘Just wait until you and Tyler are married,’ replied John, ‘then you'll sing a different tune.’’
      • ‘Less than two years ago he was singing a different tune.’
      • ‘But we expect he'll be singing a different tune if they take him at his word.’
      • ‘And he is already singing a different tune on key environmental, defence and foreign affairs issues he once passionately advocated.’
      • ‘With his sights on the top job as prime minister, he's singing a different tune.’
      • ‘But, you really do not want to mess around with this one, because they all sing a different tune a few minutes later.’
      • ‘Now when they go back into their communities they will sing a different tune.’
  • sing for one's supper

    • Earn a favour or benefit by providing a service in return:

      ‘the cruise lecturers are academics singing for their supper’
      • ‘Reason is I'm doing a bit of network support for a friend while I'm there - singing for my supper, as it were.’
      • ‘This is one of those moments where publicists really have to break out the creativity and sing for their supper.’
      • ‘All sang for their supper, offering the principal selling points of their country and their people: ‘Abundance of cheap labour… a treasure house of resources… a captive market.’’
      • ‘A colleague rather unkindly called it singing for our supper every evening of our lives!’
      • ‘Frankly, if they're not going to sing for their supper, they should go straight out the door’.’
      • ‘But I sometimes wonder what it would be like to just be a normal guest, rather than someone who sings for their supper.’
      • ‘Whether it would guarantee her success in the big race was another matter, but nobody expects her to sing for her supper every night.’
      • ‘Though ostensibly a study of contemporary trends, the programme relied almost exclusively on picturesque images from the long-gone era of horse-drawn wagons, roadside tinsmithery and jolly beggarmen singing for their supper.’
      • ‘Decades ago, my dad said, ‘You never know when you might need to sing for your supper.’’
      • ‘For once in your life, you don't have to sing for your supper.’
  • sing from the same hymn (or song) sheet

    • informal Present a united front in public by not disagreeing with one another:

      ‘they want the cabinet all singing from the same hymn sheet’
      • ‘Partnership only works when everyone sings from the same hymn sheet and the financial benefits of the venture still need to be explained to the tourism industry.’
      • ‘He has the same type of approach we have and it is like we are singing from the same hymn sheet.’
      • ‘But in their very different ways they are singing from the same song sheet and it didn't take them long to convince me that Scotland's bid is logical, ethical and well - conceived.’
      • ‘My counter argument, if there were an all loving; all understanding supreme Omnipresence; then all mankind would be singing from the same hymn sheet.’
      • ‘The important thing is that we are singing from the same hymn sheet.’
      • ‘Firefighters are a unique lot, all singing from the same song sheet, and I am definitely going to miss it.’
      • ‘But an across-the-board framework is needed to ensure that some consistency is achieved and that everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet.’
      • ‘He said: ‘Everyone has been extremely welcoming and it is good to work with a board who are all singing from the same hymn sheet.’’
      • ‘We are both singing from the same hymn sheet and I see no problems in selecting the squad together but once the game is underway then I will be in charge.’
      • ‘That's fine as far as it goes but only if they are all singing from the same song sheet.’
  • sing in (or out) the new (or old) year

    • Celebrate the new year (or the end of the previous year) with singing.

      • ‘I certainly didn't think I would be standing on a mountain top in the middle of a paddock singing in the new year with 16 Indian boys I'd never meet before.’
      • ‘It is said she was determined to respond positively to each request, and in a whirlwind tour, sang in the new year several times in several messes, only returning to her base in the early hours.’
      • ‘Jim will be singing in the new year in Perth's beautiful new concert hall - a traditional evening's entertainment with no weather worries!’
      • ‘Numerous musicians and bands were performing throughout the area - singing out the old year and singing in the new!’
      • ‘As the ball drops, and the huge firework displays explodes in the sky, you will join in the spirit of the night as everyone sings in the new year with the traditional ‘Auld Lang Syne!’’
      • ‘These are the words to Auld Lang Syne sung on Hogmanay when the bells chime and everyone crosses arms to sing in the new year.’
      • ‘As the courthouse clock bells chime in the New Year, and the flame is passed from person to person, we become a community of friends and neighbors, singing in the new year together.’
      • ‘The closing session, singing in the new year at midnight was like watching 23,000 people Praise the Lord and swing from the chandeliers at the same time.’
      • ‘Of course, The Mountain Quartet will also offer a concert New Year's eve, and we'll all be singing in the new year by candlelight.’
      • ‘Most of my colleagues stayed up and sang in the new year, but I was sound asleep.’
  • sing the praises of

    • Express enthusiastic approval or admiration of:

      ‘Uncle Felix never stopped singing her praises’
      • ‘It's time to sing the praises of all those unsung heroes of Swindon!’
      • ‘He sings the praises of George, an elderly goose which has apparently taken a family of young ducklings under his wing and regularly helps shepherd them across the road.’
      • ‘He sang the praises of all the crew, but particularly the cooks, who worked tirelessly to prepare 31,443 individual meals during the four months at sea.’
      • ‘I instantly received e-mails singing the praises of almost every model by every manufacturer out there, and I'm sure most of them would have been fine.’
      • ‘There was a time when we admired genius, a time when we sang the praises of inventors, explorers, scientists, artists, writers and yes, even statesmen.’
      • ‘As she made her way to the airport on Monday she could not stop singing the praises of St Lucia.’
      • ‘I really cannot stop singing the praises of this, the best song of the year.’
      • ‘Patricia sings the praises of returning to education: ‘I would thoroughly recommend it.’’
      • ‘Today, we are told, is a time to sing the praises of all that is great about being part of the historic county of Yorkshire.’
      • ‘He barely name-dropped one celebrity, yet he couldn't resist singing the praises of his best friend from school.’
      commend, express approval of, express admiration for, applaud, pay tribute to, speak highly of, eulogize, compliment, congratulate, celebrate, sing the praises of, praise to the skies, rave about, go into raptures about, heap praise on, wax lyrical about, say nice things about, make much of, pat on the back, take one's hat off to, throw bouquets at, lionize, admire, hail, cheer, flatter
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  • sing someone to sleep

    • Cause someone to fall asleep by singing gently to them.

      • ‘I sing him to sleep most nights, old habit since he was little and I see no reason to change it.’
      • ‘And the stupid thing about it all, is that I keep remembering this one good memory of him singing me to sleep!’
      • ‘I could imagine his soothing voice singing me to sleep.’
      • ‘Ruby played her eldest daughter records by Billie Holiday and Dinah Washington and would teach her the lyrics and sing her to sleep with their songs at night.’
      • ‘Like a whisper of a dream, she could still recall the sound of her mother's voice as she would sing them to sleep.’
      • ‘But Terry does remember his grandfather singing him to sleep as a baby-but it's very vague.’
      • ‘I'd fallen asleep next my son, as I often sing him to sleep.’
      • ‘She is filled with premarital fears, and her mother takes charge and as she comforts and encourages her daughter, sings her to sleep whilst Alice is cuddling her childhood toy, a rabbit.’
      • ‘I think you would have liked to have a mama sing you to sleep.’
      • ‘While in the hospital she visited and spent time with people on the wards, if she heard anyone crying at might she would go to them and sing them to sleep… she had the most wonderful voice.’


Old English singan (verb), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch zingen and German singen.