Main definitions of song in English

: song1Song2

song1

noun

  • 1A short poem or other set of words set to music or meant to be sung.

    ‘a pop song’
    • ‘Anyone wishing to sing a song or recite a poem are welcome to do so.’
    • ‘In fact, it is one of the most memorable pop songs in recent Australian music history.’
    • ‘You will be required to sing a short song of your choice and demonstrate your acting skills on the day.’
    • ‘The sheet music of the song leaves no doubt that Reg Bolton wrote the words, the music being composed by Jimmy Sutton.’
    • ‘It's shorter than a pop song on the radio and barely the length of a commercial TV break.’
    • ‘They could all get up and sing a song or 10, and they all knew the songs and sang along!’
    • ‘She would mention a word and I would have to sing an Elvis song with that word in it.’
    • ‘He was always splendid with children and he would amuse them by singing songs from the opera and the music hall.’
    • ‘Do a bit of exercising, sing a song, read a poem, watch a sunrise or water your garden.’
    • ‘What she actually offers is a load of manufactured pop songs, sung in a slightly affected posh voice.’
    • ‘Many households bought parlour pianos and needed music and songs to play and sing.’
    • ‘A song's words, music tabulation and guitar chords are all as well-protected by copyright law as the sound recording they're heard in.’
    • ‘The answer is probably that they have shunned the idea of writing short and sweet pop songs.’
    • ‘A Swedish pop group sang a song about a battle that the English won.’
    • ‘Some slaves even joined in her song by singing the words they knew.’
    • ‘It used to be, even in pop music, that you sang a song of heartache to get it off your mind, to share with others so maybe you wouldn't hurt so much.’
    • ‘The idea for the book first came about when Mildred wrote a short song with the title words in it.’
    • ‘Music was dear to her heart and Delia had a fondness for Irish music and the old songs and ballads.’
    • ‘The choir will be performing a range of different musical styles from show tunes and pop songs to church music.’
    • ‘He'd love to form a band, impress the girls and sing pop songs in broken English.’
    air, strain, ditty, melody, tune, popular song, pop song, number, track
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1mass noun Singing or vocal music.
      ‘the pilgrims broke into song’
      • ‘Your audiences will appreciate those who have lived the life they share with you in their humor, poetry and song.’
      • ‘Yet something happens in the repetition of simple phrases put to song.’
      • ‘They broke into song, Shakespearean renditions of a day in the life of an audience member, and even a flashback to Blade.’
      • ‘As the singer came out again, she broke into song, the band behind accompanying her svelte, smooth voice.’
      • ‘The event will begin on Saturday evening in Newtown Church with an evening of music, song and recital.’
      • ‘The birds were in full song in the trees, busily making nests or feeding young.’
      • ‘But, neither of us was making any success with anything until Tae-Hyun broke into song.’
      • ‘A happy life after death coincided with fame here on earth, where people would remember you in poetry and song.’
      • ‘Slow music stared, and then Emmet broke into song with his sweet voice.’
      • ‘Music, song, dance and recitation were the order of the night in Rathkeale.’
      • ‘Cultural Industry's show is a triumph of theatre puppetry, mime, music and song over modern technology and effects.’
      • ‘Some of the pan players broke into song, adding flair to the band's rendition as the pan sticks belted down the pulsating rhythms.’
      • ‘Harvey, who then broke into song and rendered the hymn, Never Get Weary, was quickly accompanied by the congregation.’
      • ‘He had a taste for poetry and song, and he generally lived up to the chivalric code.’
      • ‘The people of Thembelihle, a new township on the outskirts of Lenasia in the far south, broke into song to welcome the mayor.’
      • ‘The program of events also includes a parade, public address, folk dance, song, and poetry recitation.’
      • ‘The concert will feature the Creagh family and friends, with poetry and song.’
      • ‘Music, song, story and recitation flowed, while caterers saw no one went without a drink and grub.’
      • ‘Poetry and song would be inadequate to tell what those two villages said to me during my growing.’
      • ‘There was song, dance, poetry and recitations and prayers in thanksgiving for Bridgie's major recovery during the year.’
    2. 1.2 A musical composition suggestive of a song.
      • ‘He composed some 700 songs, which makes him one of the most prolific song composers since Schubert.’
      • ‘The song has three stanzas of six lines, carrying four stresses downbeats separated by upbeats.’
    3. 1.3 A poem, especially one in rhymed stanzas.
      ‘The Song of Hiawatha’
      • ‘Poetry in the early seventeenth century is not yet the song of the self.’
      • ‘Pamphilia to Amphilanthus then closes with a series of four songs and nine sonnets.’
      • ‘Now is come the last age of the song of Cumae; the great line of the centuries begins anew.’
      • ‘Last of the song's three stanzas, it is suitable comment on the achievement of a dedicated scholar.’
      • ‘The song of the poet himself will reanimate the memory of Troy and rescue it from the dark tombs.’
      • ‘This tribute to the continuing fecundity of the royal marriage reworks the earlier song of Amianteros, with its celebration of natural abundance.’
      • ‘The elegiac sonnet provides this opportunity for the poet, for it literally becomes a song of mourning.’
      poem, piece of poetry, verse, ditty, ode, limerick, jingle, verse composition, metrical composition
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4archaic mass noun Poetry.
      • ‘The full text of the lyrical song is as follows.’
  • 2mass noun The musical phrases uttered by some birds, whales, and insects, typically forming a recognizable and repeated sequence and used chiefly for territorial defence or for attracting mates.

    • ‘Each species has its own distinct patterns of electric discharges that it uses to communicate, much like birds use song.’
    • ‘Few studies have investigated any aspect of song in suboscine passerines.’
    • ‘Learn how to use field marks, habitat, behavior, and song to identify birds.’
    • ‘The Winter Wren is a tiny woodland bird whose song is as elaborate as its plumage is drab.’
    • ‘Chaffinches and cowbirds are not the only birds that teach song to their young.’
    • ‘Usually early migrants, the first ouzel's song echoes round the hills and the first birds fall prey to merlins and peregrines.’
    • ‘Hooligans are not reformed by Mozart, so much as driven away by a noise that is as alien and hostile to their world as whale song to a camel herd.’
    • ‘We only took up birding in April and lack a great deal of fundamental knowledge of bird habitat, habits, and song.’
    • ‘Males attract mates using song, iridescent plumage and dramatic display flights.’
    • ‘He whistles, inexpertly trying to mimic the bird's song, then stops and grins.’
    • ‘The song can sound like hoots and whistles, in a repeating pattern similar to that of a mockingbird or thrasher.’
    • ‘This bird has a beautiful trilling song, but it is not delivered in the fall.’
    • ‘Males and females differ in plumage and song, produced in duets or separately.’
    • ‘Why females should pay attention to male song when choosing mates is less well understood, however.’
    • ‘Barn swallow song consists of sequences of various song types organized in bouts.’
    • ‘In dunnocks, females may use song to compete for males, and in the alpine accentor, females attract males by song.’
    • ‘Science journalist David Baron reports on new research using information theory to codify the patterns of whale song.’
    • ‘In Bolivia, in two square kilometers, in one week, he recognized 243 bird species just by song.’
    • ‘And birds have a great advantage over all other animals: song.’
    • ‘Geographic variation in song among suboscine birds has been taken to indicate genetic divergence.’
    call, calls, calling, chirp, chirps, chirping, cheep, cheeps, cheeping, peep, peeps, peeping, chirrup, chirrups, chirruping, warble, warbles, warbling, trill, trills, trilling, twitter, twittering, whistling, piping, birdsong
    View synonyms

Phrases

  • for a song

    • informal Very cheaply.

      ‘the place was going for a song’
      • ‘My sister and sister-in-law have adorned their homes with intriguing and beautiful pieces bought for a song at these market type events.’
      • ‘All this excellence, of course, doesn't come for a song.’
      • ‘We have already sold proven oil fields for a song.’
      • ‘In addition, while many MP3 files can be found cheaply on the Internet, MP3 gadgets don't go for a song.’
      • ‘The State went out on its own and did what it wanted to do, which was to take the Indian lands for a song.’
      • ‘Because of the FRA's ineptitude, growers have now resorted to selling their grain for a song as they have become desperate for cash.’
      • ‘Instead, the way they are being sold for a song, it looks as if the government is intent on privatising profits and nationalising losses, they say.’
      • ‘It's what many landlords are doing, particularly those who choose to subvert the dire sales market and are renting out their homes, rather than selling them for a song.’
      • ‘If you're looking for the perfect mix of antiquities and beaches on your next vacation and you want deluxe accommodations for a song, go to Egypt.’
      • ‘Some 25 lakh vehicles ply the 4,000 km of Bangalore roads and are exploited by contractors to get the parking lots for a song.’
  • on song

    • informal Performing well.

      ‘will Swindon be on song for the new season?’
      • ‘When he is on song, the team is on song and when we are not, he is as good as any of the rest of us when it comes to rolling up his sleeves and trying to dig out a result.’
      • ‘When he is on song, he is excellent but when he is below par he can create problems for the rest of the team.’
      • ‘With Mike Hamshere on song, Westow's powerful batting line-up folded.’
      • ‘He was really on song as he steamed in down the slope from the Kirkstall Lane end and before Warwickshire knew what had hit them he had grabbed three wickets for one run in his first 13 balls.’
      • ‘Scott Baker, a close-season capture from Carlton, was also on song with 2 for 17, while Ben Rogers top-scored for the home side with 42.’
      • ‘But, to win you've got to finish and since the last round Webbo has been burning the midnight oil to make sure the Suzuki engines are on song.’
      • ‘If, collectively, that group isn't on song come September, Torrance's chances of leading the side to victory are minimal.’
      • ‘We played with enough confidence to have caused them more problems than we did but, ultimately, we fell foul of Michael Owen being back on song.’
      • ‘With the visitors clearly not on song and reduced to 10 men, John Lambie's players, urged on by a boisterous crowd, sensed that the game was theirs for the taking and set about the task in fine style.’
      • ‘Now back on song, he should not be underestimated.’
      on top form, in the pink, in great shape, in the best of health
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  • a song and dance

    • 1informal A fuss or commotion.

      ‘she would be sure to make a song and dance about her aching feet’
      • ‘Which is another reason why Orman was determined not to make a song and dance about his seizure.’
      • ‘People who have lived in the Dales for a long time know it's a lovely place and tend not to make a song and dance about it.’
      • ‘Annabelle isn't one to make a song and dance about what she's doing, and she would go off doing all sorts of treks and endurance trails.’
      • ‘The fact that he has to make a song and dance about it shows how far policing has moved away from what it should be doing.’
      • ‘The latest group of entertainers to make a song and dance about their plight are actors, or ‘theatre practitioners’ as they must now be called.’
      • ‘So if there's a chance for a regional city to make a song and dance about their local talent, then let them milk it for all it's worth.’
      • ‘But if others are going to make a song and dance about the levels of Scottish support, he is duty bound to respond.’
      • ‘When a British suburbanite sets off with a shotgun to see his ex-wife he doesn't make a song and dance about it.’
      • ‘Even some investigating agencies make a song and dance about their findings and jail persons only to be acquitted later.’
      • ‘They don't make a song and dance about it; they just do it.’
      fuss, fuss and bother, bother, commotion, trouble, rigmarole, folderol, ado, pother
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1North American A long explanation that is pointless or deliberately evasive.
        • ‘It was a song and dance the two frequently engaged in.’
        • ‘It was a song and dance that he had heard many times before.’
        • ‘We all deserve answers, not a song and dance about how hard the police work and how they don't get no respect.’
        • ‘With nothing to go on but a song and dance from Kelley, most are loathe to give it more than a 7 or 8 share.’
        • ‘I did what I could, but his attorney did a song and dance you wouldn't believe.’
        • ‘Regan didn't make a song and dance about getting drunk all the time.’

Origin

Old English sang, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch zang and German Sang, also to sing.

Pronunciation

song

/sɒŋ/

Main definitions of song in English

: song1Song2

Song2

(also Sung)

proper noun

  • A dynasty that ruled in China AD 960–1279.

Pronunciation

Song

/sɒŋ/