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From Middle English songster, sangester, sangstere, from Old English sangestre (a female singer; songstress), equivalent to song +‎ -ster. Cognate with Scots sangstar (singer; songster). Compare also West Frisian sjongster (singer; female singer; vocalist).



songster (plural songsters)

  1. A man who sings songs, especially as a profession; a male singer.
  2. A male songbird.
    • 1886, Peter Christen Asbjørnsen, translated by H.L. Brækstad, Folk and Fairy Tales, page 89:
      The woodcock, the snipe, and other nocturnal birds were all gone to rest; but the merry songsters of the wood now filled the air with their jubilee; the nutcracker began his monotonous clattering, the chaffinches and the wrens sang high in the sky, the blackcock scolded and blustered loudly, the thrush sang his mocking songs and libellous ditties about everybody, but became occasionally a little sentimental and warbled gently and bashfully some tender stanzas.
  3. (formal) One who writes songs.
  4. (US) A book of songs; songbook.
    • 1996, Macy Nulman, The Encyclopedia of Jewish Prayer, page 234:
      Because the Jew was often compelled to sing and dance to a fixed Mah Yafit melody at the wild orgies of the paritzim (wealthy Polish landowners), many deliberately discontinued singing Mah Yafit, thus causing the text to be removed from numerous Siddurim and songsters in the early 1900s.

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