Feeling happy? Feeling sad? Sing a song! A song is poetry set to music, and there’s a song for every occasion, from “Happy Birthday” to “Here Comes the Bride.” Tra la la!

Most songs have words, or lyrics, though not all of them do — and we call the musical sound a bird makes a song as well. Sometimes rhyming poems are called songs, like Pablo Neruda's "April Rain Song." If your friend tells you she bought her bicycle "for a song," that simply means it was inexpensive, not that she actually had to sing a song to get it.

Definitions of song

n a short musical composition with words

“a successful musical must have at least three good songs
show 34 types...
hide 34 types...
religious song
religious music for singing
a song of devotion or loyalty (as to a nation or school)
an elaborate song for solo voice
ballad, lay
a narrative song with a recurrent refrain
barcarole, barcarolle
a boating song sung by Venetian gondoliers
a short simple song (or the words of a poem intended to be sung)
coronach, dirge, lament, requiem, threnody
a song or hymn of mourning composed or performed as a memorial to a dead person
drinking song
a song celebrating the joys of drinking; sung at drinking parties
folk ballad, folk song, folksong
a song that is traditionally sung by the common people of a region and forms part of their culture
a German art song of the 19th century for voice and piano
love song, love-song
a song about love or expressing love for another person
berceuse, cradlesong, lullaby
a quiet song intended to lull a child to sleep
golden oldie, oldie
a song that was formerly popular
a song with two or more voice parts
prothalamion, prothalamium
a song in celebration of a marriage
a song in which a line or phrase is repeated as the refrain
banquet song, scolion
a song (sometimes improvised) sung by guests at a banquet
a song characteristically played outside the house of a woman
torch song
a popular song concerned with disappointment in love
work song
a usually rhythmical song to accompany repetitious work
a repetitive song in which as many syllables as necessary are assigned to a single tone
Negro spiritual, spiritual
a kind of religious song originated by Blacks in the southern United States
Christmas carol, carol
joyful religious song celebrating the birth of Christ
anthem, hymn
a song of praise (to God or to a saint or to a nation)
a funeral lament sung with loud wailing
national anthem
a song formally adopted as the anthem for a nation
arietta, short aria
a short aria
ballads sung by minstrels
chantey, chanty, sea chantey, shanty
a rhythmical work song originally sung by sailors
a type of folksong that originated among Black Americans at the beginning of the 20th century; has a melancholy sound from repeated use of blue notes
a sad Portuguese folksong
an unaccompanied partsong for 2 or 3 voices; follows a strict poetic form
round, troll
a partsong in which voices follow each other; one voice starts and others join in one after another until all are singing different parts of the song at the same time
belling, callathump, callithump, charivari, chivaree, shivaree
a noisy mock serenade (made by banging pans and kettles) to a newly married couple
Type of:
composition, musical composition, opus, piece, piece of music
a musical work that has been created

n the act of singing

“with a shout and a song they marched up to the gates”
a joyful song (usually celebrating the birth of Christ)
cradlesong, lullaby
the act of singing a quiet song to lull a child to sleep
Type of:
vocal music
music that is vocalized (as contrasted with instrumental music)

n a distinctive or characteristic sound

“the song of bullets was in the air”
“the song of the wind”
“the wheels sang their song as the train rocketed ahead”
Type of:
the sudden occurrence of an audible event

n the characteristic sound produced by a bird

“a bird will not learn its song unless it hears it at an early age”
birdcall, birdsong, call
bell-like call
a birdcall that resembles the tone of a bell
two-note call
a birdcall having two notes
Type of:
animal communication
communication between animals (of the same species)

n a very small sum

“he bought it for a song
Type of:
bargain, buy, steal
an advantageous purchase

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.