sing [sing] WORD ORIGIN verb (used without object), sang or, often, sung; sung; sing·ing. to utter words or sounds in succession with musical modulations of the voice; vocalize melodically. to perform aor voice composition: She promised to sing for us. to produce melodious sounds, usually high in pitch, as certain birds, insects, etc.: The nightingale sang in the tree. to compose poetry: Keats sang briefly but gloriously. to tell about or praise someone or something in verse or song: He sang of the warrior’s prowess. to admit of being sung, as verses: This lyric sings well. to give out a continuous ringing, whistling, murmuring, burbling, or other euphonious sound, as a teakettle or a brook. to make a short whistling, ringing, or whizzing sound: The bullet sang past his ear. (of an electrical amplifying system) to produce an undesired self-sustained oscillation. to have the sensation of a ringing or humming sound, as the ears. Slang. to confess or act as an informer; squeal. SEE MORESEE LESS verb (used with object), sang or, often, sung; sung; sing·ing. to utter with musical modulations of the voice, as a song. to escort or accompany with singing. to proclaim enthusiastically. to bring, send, put, etc., with or by singing: She sang the baby to sleep. to chant or intone: to sing mass. to tell or praise in verse or song. SEE MORESEE LESS noun the act or performance of singing. a gathering or meeting of persons for the purpose of singing: a community sing. a singing, ringing, or whistling sound, as of a bullet. SEE MORESEE LESS Verb Phrases sing out, Informal. to call in a loud voice; shout: They lost their way in the cavern and sang out for help. SEE MORE DEFINITIONSSEE FEWER DEFINITIONS
Origin of sing before 900; Middle English singen, Old English singan; cognate with Dutch zingen, German singen, Old Norse syngva, Gothic siggwan Related formssing·a·ble, adjectivesing·a·bil·i·ty, sing·a·ble·ness, nounsing·ing·ly, adverbmis·sing, verb, mis·sang, mis·sung, mis·sing·ing.un·sing·a·ble, adjectiveCan be confusedsing singing Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019 British Dictionary definitions for singability sing verb sings, singing, sang or sung to produce or articulate (sounds, words, a song, etc) with definite and usually specific musical intonation (when intr, often foll by to) to perform (a song) to the accompaniment (of)to sing to a guitar (intr foll by of) to tell a story or tale in song (about)I sing of a maiden (intr foll by to) to address a song (to) or perform a song (for) (intr) to perform songs for a living, as a professional singer (intr) (esp of certain birds and insects) to utter calls or sounds reminiscent of music (when intr, usually foll by of) to tell (something) or give praise (to someone), esp in versethe poet who sings of the Trojan dead (intr) to make a whining, ringing, or whistling soundthe kettle is singing; the arrow sang past his ear (intr) (of the ears) to experience a continuous ringing or humming sound (tr) (esp in church services) to chant or intone (a prayer, psalm, etc) (tr) to bring to a given state by singingto sing a child to sleep (intr) slang, mainly US to confess or act as an informer (intr) Australian (in Aboriginal witchcraft) to bring about a person’s death by incantation. The same power can sometimes be used beneficently noun informal an act or performance of singing a ringing or whizzing sound, as of bullets See also , Derived Formssingable, adjectivesinging, adjective, nounWord Origin for sing Old English singan; related to Old Norse syngja to sing, Gothic siggwan, Old High German singan xref See Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012 Word Origin and History for singability sing v.
Old English singan “to chant, sing, celebrate, or tell in song,” also used of birds (class III strong verb; past tense sang, past participle sungen), from Proto-Germanic *sengwan (cf. Old Saxon singan, Old Frisian sionga, Middle Dutch singhen, Dutch zingen, Old High German singan, German singen, Gothic siggwan, Old Norse syngva, Swedish sjunga), from PIE root *sengwh- “to sing, make an incantation.” The criminal slang sense of “to confess to authorities” is attested from 1610s.
No related forms in other languages, unless perhaps it is connected to Greek omphe “voice” (especially of a god), “oracle;” and Welsh dehongli “explain, interpret.” The typical Indo-European root is represented by Latin canere (see(v.)). Other words meaning “sing” derive from roots meaning “cry, shout,” but Irish gaibim is literally “take, seize,” with sense evolution via “take up” a song or melody.
“act of singing,” especially collective, 1850, from(v.).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper