any of various small European thrushes (genus Luscinia) with a russet back and buff to white underparts: the male is known for its varied, melodious singing, esp. at night during the breeding season
Origin of nightingaleMiddle English nigtingale, for earlier nihtegale ; from Old English (akin to German nachtigall) ; from niht, night + base of galan, to sing, akin to giellan, yell
1820-1910; Eng. nurse in the Crimean War: regarded as the founder of modern nursing
- A songbird (Luscinia megarhynchos) of Eurasia and Africa with reddish-brown plumage, noted for the melodious song of the male during the breeding season, most often heard at night.
- Any of various other songbirds of the genus Luscinia.
Origin of nightingaleMiddle English, from Old English nihtegale : niht, night; see night + galan, to sing; see ghel-1 in Indo-European roots.
Old English and Middle English nihtgale (“one who sings during the night")