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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Song \Song\ (s[o^]ng; 115), n. [AS. song, sang, fr. singan to sing; akin to D. zang, G. sang, Icel. s["o]ngr, Goth. saggws. See Sing.]

  1. That which is sung or uttered with musical modulations of the voice, whether of a human being or of a bird, insect, etc. ``That most ethereal of all sounds, the song of crickets.''

  2. A lyrical poem adapted to vocal music; a ballad.

  3. More generally, any poetical strain; a poem.

    The bard that first adorned our native tongue Tuned to his British lyre this ancient song.

  4. Poetical composition; poetry; verse.

    This subject for heroic song.

  5. An object of derision; a laughingstock.

    And now am I their song, yea, I am their byword.
    --Job xxx. 9.

  6. A trifle; an insignificant sum of money; as, he bought it for a song. ``The soldier's pay is a song.''

    Old song, a trifle; nothing of value. ``I do not intend to be thus put off with an old song.''
    --Dr. H. More.

    Song bird (Zo["o]l.), any singing bird; one of the Oscines.

    Song sparrow (Zo["o]l.), a very common North American sparrow ( Melospiza fasciata, or Melospiza melodia) noted for the sweetness of its song in early spring. Its breast is covered with dusky brown streaks which form a blotch in the center.

    Song thrush (Zo["o]l.), a common European thrush ( Turdus musicus), noted for its melodius song; -- called also mavis, throstle, and thrasher.

    Syn: Sonnet; ballad; canticle; carol; canzonet; ditty; hymn; descant; lay; strain; poesy; verse.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

"song thrush," c.1400, mavys, from Old French mauvis, of unknown origin; related to Spanish malvis. Breton milfid is a French loan word.


n. song thrush.


n. common Old World thrush noted for its song [syn: song thrush, throstle, Turdus philomelos]

Mavis (disambiguation)

For the given name and list of namesakes see Mavis.

Mavis may also refer to:


Mavis is a female name. Its usage was initiated by Marie Corelli's 1895 novel The Sorrows of Satan which featured a character named Mavis Clare whose first name is said to be "rather odd" but suitable for Miss Clare as "she sings quite as sweetly as any thrush". Corelli patently was utilizing the common noun mavis which refers to the song thrush and was long obsolete by the 19th century but known from its poetic use as in Robert Burns's Ca' the Yowes ("Hark the mavis evening sang/Sounding Clouden's woods amang") written in 1794; also the popular love song "Mary of Argyle", written circa 1850 by lyricist Charles Jefferys features the line: "I have heard the mavis singing its love-song to the morn."

Mavis had its height of popularity between the 1920s and 1940s. Its usage declined thereafter, and the name has become rather unfashionable since the 1960s.

The British politician Mavis Tate was born in 1893 but only assumed the first name "Mavis" as an adult, her actual first name of birth being Maybird. Old French mauvis

Notable persons with the first name Mavis include:

  • Mavis Adjei, Ghanaian actress
  • Mavis Doering (1929–2007), Cherokee Nation basketweaver
  • Mavis Fan (b. 1977), Taiwanese singer
  • Mavis Freeman (1918–1988, American swimmer who competed in the 1936 Olympic Games
  • Mavis Gallant (b. 1922), Canadian writer
  • Mavis Gray née Beckett (b. 1944), Australian sportswoman
  • Mavis Hee (b. 1974), Singaporean singer
  • Mavis Hutchinson, first woman to run across the United States
  • Mavis Jukes (b. 1947), American children's author
  • Mavis Leno (b. 1956), American feminist and wife of Jay Leno
  • Mavis Nicholson (b. 1930), Welsh broadcaster
  • Mavis Pugh (1914–2006), English actress and comedian
  • Mavis Smitheman, local body councillor for Ardwick, Manchester
  • Mavis Staples (b. 1939), American rhythm and blues singer
  • Mavis Stevens, (b. 1959) Georgia Folk Fiber Artist
  • Mavis Taillieu (b. 1952), Canadian politician
  • Mavis Tate (1893–1947), British Conservative Party politician and feminist
  • Mavis Taylor (1915–2007), Australian humanitarian
  • Mavis Villiers, an actress
  • Mavis Wilson ( fl. 1980–90s), Canadian politician
  • The Mavis's, Australian alternative rock band

Notable fictional characters with the first name Mavis include:

  • Dark Mavis, recurring character in English rock band Mansun's debut album Attack of the Grey Lantern
  • Mavis, a controversial personification of viewers of daytime shopping television, made by Katie Hopkins of the third series of the UK television reality programme The Apprentice; Mavis is said to have had an ample bosom and to be single and lonely, among other things
  • Mavis, two fictional characters who first appeared in the DC Comics universe
  • Mavis, a character from the BBC comedy Open All Hours
  • Mavis, a diesel locomotive character from The Railway Series books by the Rev. W. Awdry and from the derived children's television series Thomas & Friends;
  • Mavis Anderson, secondary character in Dallas, best friend to Miss Ellie Ewing
  • Mavis Beacon, the eponymous African-American typing instructor of the Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing software
  • Mavis Bramston, from The Mavis Bramston Show (1964–1968), Australian television satire
  • Mavis Buckey, anthropomorphic animal character from the Funny Farm series
  • Mavis Clare, a popular author who resists the temptation of the Devil in The Sorrows of Satan by Marie Corelli
  • Mavis Cruet, an obese young fairy incapable of flight, from the British children's animated series Willo the Wisp (1981/2005)
  • Mavis Davis, a pseudonymous singer in the British comedy Bring Me the Head of Mavis Davis (1997)
  • Mavis DeVere, one version of the actual name of Bubbles DeVere, a character in the BBC comedy series Little Britain
  • Mavis Dracula, a 118-year-old vampire and the daughter of Count Dracula in the 2012 animated film Hotel Transylvania
  • Mavis Freestone, a singer, from the Death series of detective novels
  • Mavis Gary, an emotionally unavailable author and the main character of Young Adult (2011)
  • Mavis Madling, a character in the situation comedy series Designing Women
  • Mavis Ming, title character in Michael Moorcock's The Transformation of Miss Mavis Ming, part of his Dancers at the End of Time series
  • Mavis Munro, office manager in the comic book series Supernatural Law and Supernatural Law Secretary Mavis
  • Mavis Neff, a girlfriend of Andy Griffith in The Andy Griffith Show
  • Mavis Newkirk, Corporal Newkirk's sister on Hogan's Heroes
  • Mavis Pike, character in the British situation comedy Dad's Army
  • Mavis Rae, main character in the situation comedy Whoopi
  • Mavis Vermillion, founder and first master of the same-named guild in manga/anime Fairy Tail
  • Mavis Wartella-Depew, an elementary school student in Rockett's New School, a video game
  • Mavis Wilton, a character in Coronation Street
Mavis (DC Comics)

Mavis is the name of two fictional characters who first appeared in the DC Comics' universe. In the Golden Age Wonder Woman series, the first character served as a Nazi provocateur. Later, Mavis Trent, an unrelated character appeared in the Silver Age Hawkman series as a Midway City museum archaeologist with a crush on the (married) title character.

Usage examples of "mavis".

Mr Cayenne, I got Colin Mavis into the place, where, to the surprise of everybody, he proved a wonderful eident and active lad, and, from less to more, has come at the head of all the clerks, and deep in the confidentials of his employers.

Give her Mavis Freestone kicking some serious musical ass, she thought.

Even if the T-shirt stopped a couple inches above the waist and was covered with red and yellow fringe, it was pretty tame on the Mavis Freestone scale of fashion.

Across from the bed, tacked up for the view she was sure, was a life-sized poster of Mavis Freestone, exploding into a midair leap, arms extended, grin wide and full of fun.

I promised the artist a backstage pass to the next Mavis Freestone concert in the city if he got us something this afternoon.

It was hardly surprising, after this, that Mavis had retreated from the kitchen, leaving her henchwoman mistress of the field.

Her voice sae saft, sae sweet and clear, Afar in yonder bower sae green, The mavis quits her lay to hear A bonnier sang frae lovely Jean.

Also present was a middle-aged woman, Mavis Prine, Senator for Popular Information.

Ten hundred hours Mavis had said, and he was determined that the pads of his tripedal landing gear would touch the turf of the Oval at precisely that time.

She had Mavis backed into a corner and was giving her the finer points on how to leap a Beltane fire.

Later, after two trade union officials had arrived at the Bethnal Green factory, Misses Mavis Percy, the chargehand of the first-floor workshop of machinists and seamstresses, came to see Tommy.

The owners of Flokati were showing Mavis and Walter Bricknell-type behaviour, fluttering about in a nervous anxiety that would be bound to affect the horse if it went on too long.

Mavis was busy at the juice bar whipping up wheat grass smoothies and various concoctions we had dreamed up.

Mavis and Otto Orfizzi, to begin with, hated one another so uncordially, so spitefully, and with such unremitting verbal venom, that no one could be said to be truly safe in their presence, while MuMu and Lotte de Charraiveuneuirauville were both too absorbed in themselves to be much help under the best of circumstances.

Mavis and Otto Orfizzi, to begin with, hated one another so uncordially, so spitefully, and with such unremitting verbal venom, that no one could be said to be truly safe in their presence, while MuMu and Lotte deCharraiveuneuirauville were both too absorbed in themselves to be much help under the best of circumstances.