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 (source also of 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."

There are said to be 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 chant (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.

The criminal slang sense of "to confess to authorities" is attested from 1610s. 

Every child should be taught, from its youth, to govern its voice discreetly and dexterously, as it does its hands ; and not to be able to sing should be more disgraceful than not being able to read or write. For it is quite possible to lead a virtuous and happy life without books, or ink ; but not without wishing to sing, when we are happy ; nor without meeting with continual occasions when our song, if right, would be a kind service to others. [Ruskin, "Rock Honeycomb"]

sing (n.)

"act of singing," especially collective, 1850, from sing (v.).

updated on January 15, 2022

Definitions of sing from WordNet

sing (v.)
deliver by singing;
sing (v.)
produce tones with the voice;
She was singing while she was cooking
My brother sings very well
sing (v.)
to make melodious sounds;
The nightingale was singing
sing (v.)
make a whining, ringing, or whistling sound;
the bullet sang past his ear
the kettle was singing
Synonyms: whistle
sing (v.)
divulge confidential information or secrets;
Synonyms: spill the beans / let the cat out of the bag / talk / tattle / blab / peach / babble / babble out / blab out
Etymologies are not definitions. From, not affiliated with etymonline.