Definition of sing in English:



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

    ‘Bella sang to the baby’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In parallel to her opera career, she also sang for Handel in the oratorio seasons.’
    • ‘Every time this folk singer sings in her guttural voice, she draws a motley audience around her courtyard.’
    • ‘This opens strikingly with the high voices singing unaccompanied in unison.’
    • ‘And those closing strains die away, and the finale begins, a faint chorus of distant voices singing in unison, the orchestra silent.’
    • ‘Make a tape of your own voice talking or singing to the baby.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Listen to how slowly, how deliberately John McCormack sang, caressing each word.’
    • ‘Deborah sings almost everything between Mozart and Maxwell Davies, and has a lovely voice!’
    • ‘She played it to the hilt as an over-inebriated soprano trying to sing in an operetta.’
    • ‘He didn't pay much attention to anything but the rainy road until he heard a soft voice singing with the chorus.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Forty male voices sang in spell-binding chorus, softening at moments and then rising, fortified, to a crescendo.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Both groups sang very much in tune, but unlike, say, certain more modern groups, intonation never excited you by itself.’
    • ‘At some time in their lives, they've played the piano, flute, clarinet, violin and cello and sung in choirs.’
    chant, intone, croon, carol, chorus, warble, trill, pipe, quaver
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    1. 1.1with object Perform (a song, words, or tune) with the voice.
      ‘the singing of hymns in Latin’
      ‘someone started singing “God Bless America”’
      • ‘To add to the atmosphere, members of Newport Choir and friends sang carols and Christmas songs under the Christmas Tree.’
      • ‘As I write this, forty years later, I've signed up to sing that very chorus with my local symphony this year.’
      • ‘And they sang hymns and patriotic songs and show tunes and everything.’
      • ‘These students, especially, should be encouraged to sing aloud the words of the pieces in their method books simultaneously with their playing.’
      • ‘Also on Saturday the Calne Choral Society will be singing Haydn's Nelson Mass at John Bentley School at 7.30 pm.’
      • ‘After a dramatic recitative which Genaux sings with some interesting vocal color, the aria is as light and as refreshing as a cool breeze.’
      • ‘It became the song sung by Stephen repeating God's proclamation that redemption is found in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She could hear lots of laughter, endless and melodious, mingling with sweet beautiful music and songs sung by heavenly voices.’
      • ‘Pupils at Ruskin Junior School sang carols and songs.’
      • ‘They revived the handbell choir, answering God's invitation to sing a new song.’
      • ‘As scary as it is for me I love it because I can look out and see everybody singing the song word for word.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I love being able to sing carols and Christmas songs.’
      • ‘Withers has a beautiful tone but she hides behind this, allowing it to speak over the words she is singing.’
      • ‘Many of the performers sang labor songs of the 1930s, civil rights songs of the 1960s, peace songs of many decades.’
      • ‘He sang folk songs and show tunes like Maria, a big favourite in the Soviet Union.’
      • ‘We enjoyed each other's company and sang songs to God.’
      • ‘We were singing songs from a musical called Phantom of the Opera.’
      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.
      • ‘Because when people used to singing in harmonies start to sing along, they sing along in harmony.’
      • ‘Eventually, everyone sang along with the flowing melody while moving about the room in syncopation.’
      • ‘She was singing along to some Celtic music belting out from her stereo.’
      • ‘I shook my head in tune with the music, singing along with it at the top of my lungs.’
      • ‘People like to sing along with music discs, or at least they like to know all the words.’
      • ‘He kept the door open, and was outside in the hall singing along with the music.’
      • ‘Usually when I feel depressed, I just listen to music and sing along to the songs.’
      • ‘The stage was closer than she had expected and everyone was singing along with the music.’
      • ‘Stan began to sing along with the music, but fell short of knowing more than a few lines of each song.’
      • ‘I was too busy singing along quietly to the music which was swelling up from a speaker at the front of the bus.’
      • ‘From what he could hear, there was now an extra voice singing along with the music.’
      • ‘My feel my eyes widen when she sings along to the music in perfect pitch.’
      • ‘I stomped around and laughed while she wiggled, pranced and sang along to the music like all the other teenagers.’
      • ‘All that's missing are the lyrics, but true fans of the music can sing along instead.’
      • ‘Tommy sings along to the music, reaching a gold framed mirror above the fireplace on the last beat.’
      • ‘You do not need a music background for singing along with video karaoke.’
      • ‘The audience joined in the banter and sang along to musical hall songs.’
      • ‘She could hear Chloe singing along to the music, and she wondered if she had woken up in a dream.’
      • ‘Eccentric behavior in unlikely settings: in Ghost Dog, for example, a Mafia boss admires rap music and sings along with it.’
      • ‘She couldn't make herself sing along with the music that was playing through the receiver.’
    3. 1.3sing something out Call something out loudly; shout.
      ‘he sang out a greeting’
      • ‘As they neared the quay, youthful voices sang out a greeting.’
      • ‘Is there anything more serious than joy, the dangerous freedom of singing it out?’
      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 chestnut trees’
      • ‘The birds were singing and animals were chattering all over the forest.’
      • ‘Like most birds, zebra finches sing as the sun rises.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Another morning, bright and clear in every direction, birds chirped and sung in the trees, but none flew this day.’
      • ‘The sounds of morning birds singing and chirping cheerfully could be heard all around.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Do birds really sing or do they just open their mouths when the sound comes out?’
      • ‘There are no bombs in this world; the sounds are just of tree growing and birds singing.’
      • ‘The sun was shining, birds were singing and the aromatic scent of flowers and trees hung in the air.’
      • ‘The quiet settled in like a warm blanket, no birds sang, no crickets chirped.’
      • ‘The birds were chirping and singing gaily as they came in.’
      • ‘Birds were singing, insects were chirping, and people could be heard talking in their homes.’
      • ‘The first time I've seen you know I've heard some birds singing in the trees.’
      • ‘However he did get his wish as now he rests under the tall trees where the birds sing in Tourlestrane churchyard.’
      • ‘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 wind stopped whistling through the trees, the birds stopped singing, and time seemed to just stand still.’
      • ‘In summer, the area seems full of energy, with birds singing, flowers blooming and trees reflected in the beautiful water of the lake.’
      warble, trill, twitter, chirp, chirrup, cheep, peep
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  • 2no object Make a high-pitched whistling or buzzing sound.

    ‘the kettle was beginning to sing’
    • ‘Dad tunes the Kingswood once a month like a classical musician would tune his violin, and the engine sings.’
    • ‘Through the enveloping silence came the sound of the wind singing through the passes.’
    1. 2.1 (of a person's ear) be affected with a continuous buzzing sound, especially as the aftereffect 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.’
      hum, drone, bumble, whir, fizz, fuzz, hiss, murmur, whisper
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  • 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.’
    inform, inform on someone, tell tales, tell tales on someone
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  • 4with object Recount or celebrate in a work of literature, especially poetry.

    ‘poetry should sing the strangeness and variety of the human race’
    no object ‘these poets sing of the North 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 Compose poetry.
      • ‘He knew Himself to sing, and build the lofty rhyme.’


  • 1An act or spell of singing.

    • ‘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.’


  • sing a different tune (or song)

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

      • ‘Less than two years ago he was 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.’
      • ‘On Friday, workers sang a different tune from the previous sounds of confrontation.’
      • ‘But we expect he'll be singing a different tune if they take him at his word.’
      • ‘But these days, the businessman mayor is singing a different tune.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘With his sights on the top job as prime minister, he's singing a different tune.’
      • ‘‘Just wait until you and Tyler are married,’ replied John, ‘then you'll sing a different tune.’’
      • ‘And he is already singing a different tune on key environmental, defence and foreign affairs issues he once passionately advocated.’
  • sing for one's supper

    • Earn a favor or benefit by providing a service in return.

      ‘the cruise lecturers are academics singing for their supper’
      • ‘For once in your life, you don't have to sing for your 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.’’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘This is one of those moments where publicists really have to break out the creativity and sing for their supper.’
      • ‘A colleague rather unkindly called it singing for our supper every evening of our lives!’
      • ‘Reason is I'm doing a bit of network support for a friend while I'm there - singing for my supper, as it were.’
      • ‘Decades ago, my dad said, ‘You never know when you might need to sing for your supper.’’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Frankly, if they're not going to sing for their supper, they should go straight out the door’.’
  • sing the praises of

    • Express enthusiastic approval or admiration of (someone or something)

      ‘Uncle Felix never stopped singing her praises’
      • ‘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 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.’
      • ‘Patricia sings the praises of returning to education: ‘I would thoroughly recommend it.’’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He barely name-dropped one celebrity, yet he couldn't resist singing the praises of his best friend from school.’
      • ‘I really cannot stop singing the praises of this, the best song of the year.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘As she made her way to the airport on Monday she could not stop singing the praises of St Lucia.’
      • ‘It's time to sing the praises of all those unsung heroes of Swindon!’
      • ‘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.’
      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.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I think you would have liked to have a mama sing you 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.’
      • ‘I sing him to sleep most nights, old habit since he was little and I see no reason to change it.’
      • ‘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 could imagine his soothing voice singing me to sleep.’
      • ‘But Terry does remember his grandfather singing him to sleep as a baby-but it's very vague.’
      • ‘And the stupid thing about it all, is that I keep remembering this one good memory of him singing me to sleep!’
      • ‘Like a whisper of a dream, she could still recall the sound of her mother's voice as she would sing them to sleep.’
      • ‘I'd fallen asleep next my son, as I often sing him to sleep.’


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