canary


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Related to canary: Domestic Canary
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canary in a coal mine

Something or someone who, due to sensitivity to his, her, or its surroundings, acts as an indicator and early warning of possible adverse conditions or danger. Refers to the former practice of taking caged canaries into coal mines. The birds would die if methane gas became present and thereby alert miners to the danger. Wildlife in disaster movies assumes the role of the canary in a coal mine, fleeing the scene when catastrophe is imminent. Unaware that he had been given the test drug, John was used as a canary in a coal mine to see its effects on the human mind.
See also: canary, coal, mine

look like the cat that ate the canary

1. To appear smug and/or overly pleased with oneself to others, especially over something one has done, received, or accomplished. After her promotion, Janet spent the rest of the day looking like the cat that ate the canary.
2. To have the appearance of guilt but attempt to hide behind an air of smugness or feigned nonchalance. When questioned on the use of campaign funds for his own personal pleasure, the senator looked like the cat that ate the canary.
See also: ate, canary, cat, like, look, that

miner's canary

Something or someone who, due to sensitivity to his, her, or its surroundings, acts as an indicator and early warning of possible adverse conditions or danger. Refers to the former practice of taking caged canaries into coal mines—the birds would die if methane gas was present, thereby alerting miners to the danger. Wildlife in disaster movies always acts like the miner's canary, fleeing the scene when catastrophe is imminent. John was used as a miner's canary to see the test drug's effects on the human mind.
See also: canary

sing like a canary

To inform against someone to the police or other authority about their criminal or illicit behavior. I heard Joey Malone has been singing like a canary in the hopes of getting his sentence reduced. Let's make sure he's sleeping with the fishes before he gets the chance!
See also: canary, like, sing

like the cat that got the cream

Obviously smug and/or overly pleased with oneself. After her promotion, Janet spent the rest of the day looking like the cat that got the cream.
See also: cat, cream, like, that

look like the cat that swallowed the canary

1. To appear smug and/or overly pleased with oneself to others, especially over something one has done, received, or accomplished. After her promotion, Janet spent the rest of the day looking like the cat that swallowed the canary.
2. To have the appearance of guilt but attempt to hide behind an air of smugness or feigned nonchalance. When questioned on the use of campaign funds for his own personal pleasure, the senator looked like the cat that swallowed the canary.
See also: canary, cat, like, look, swallow, that

the cat that swallowed the canary

Someone who is smugly pleased or self-satisfied. After her promotion, Janet spent the rest of the day looking like the cat that swallowed the canary. Look at those kids with their ice creams—the cats that swallowed the canaries!
See also: canary, cat, swallow, that

the cat that ate the canary

Someone who is smugly pleased or self-satisfied. After her promotion, Janet spent the rest of the day looking like the cat that ate the canary. Look at those kids with their ice creams—the cats that ate the canaries!
See also: ate, canary, cat, that

look like the cat that swallowed the canary

Fig. to appear as if one had just had a great success. After the meeting John looked like the cat that swallowed the canary. I knew he must have been a success. Your presentation must have gone well. You look like the cat that swallowed the canary.
See also: canary, cat, like, look, swallow, that

look like the cat that ate the canary

Also, look like the cat that swallowed the canary. Appear smug and self-satisfied. For example, After she hit her third winning shot, Jeannie looked like the cat that ate the canary. [Second half of 1800s]
See also: ate, canary, cat, like, look, that

like the cat that got the cream

BRITISH or

like the cat that ate the canary

AMERICAN
If someone looks like the cat that got the cream, they look satisfied and happy with themselves because they have been successful or done something they are proud of. `Thanks a million,' he repeats, grinning like the cat that got the cream. Jules stands at one end, looking like the cat that ate the canary.
See also: cat, cream, like, that

canary

(kəˈnɛri)
1. n. a female singer. The band had a cute canary who could really sing.
2. n. a capsule of Nembutal, a barbiturate. (Drugs. The capsule is yellow.) There are a couple of blues, which ought to do the same as canaries.
3. n. a police informer who sings to the police. (see also stool (pigeon).) Spike is no canary. He would never squeal on us.

the cat that ate the canary

Happy, often in a selfsatisfied way. Someone who was very pleased—and often smug—was compared to a house cat that figured out a way to liberate a pet bird from its cage and enjoy the aftermath.
See also: ate, canary, cat, that
References in periodicals archive ?
The permission comes just days after the launch of Canary Wharf Group's first ever homes, at 10 Park Drive, adjacent to the Herzog & de Meuron tower.
Songbird, backed by Morgan Stanley, had won control of Canary Wharf in 2004 with a Au1.
Katrina Law is also back in what could be an emotional episode for her character, Nyssa Al Ghul (in case Black Canary dies).
Ruckus Wireless is one of the few global Wi-Fi suppliers offering a carrier-class Wi-Fi system that combines indoor and outdoor products that meet O2's architectural challenges within Canary Wharf.
The function of a Canary File could be considered similar to a watermark for a file directory, providing a unique and recognisable indicator to the system administrator if the contents of the directory are accessed, copied or deleted.
A dead canary would soon see miners hot-footing it back to safer ground.
To do a histographical revision of acidulous waters in the Canary Islands.
Travel Business Review-July 24, 2012--Ryanair Announces Fewer Flights from Canary Island(C)2012] ENPublishing - http://www.
As a result of the geographical location of the Canary Islands in a key zone between Latin America, Africa and the rest of Europe, the Archipelago acts as a privileged tri-continental bridge.
Qatar Holding has bought the London headquarters of Credit Suisse at One Cabot Square in Canary Wharf, London.
The event is the eighth Open and the sixth International Fife Open Show, run by the North Wales Fife Fancy Canary Club.
Except the second sentence invokes the soul midway through, and it is the wish of this soul that swamps the poem, drawing everything in: "This is the lost, impermanent light / The soul is pulled toward, and longs for, deep in its cave, / Little canary.
MAY DANCE MAGAZINE Video of the Month, Editors' Choice Winner: Canary and the Coal Mine.
ECO Bret Canary was watching anglers on the Oswegatchie River in Ogdensburg.