Canary in the coal mine meaning

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canary in the coal mine meaning

Canary in the Coal Mine by Madelyn Rosenberg

Bitty is a canary whose courage more than makes up for his diminutive size. Of course, as a bird who detects deadly gas leaks in a West Virginia coal mine during the Depression, he is used to facing danger. Tired of unsafe working conditions, he escapes and hops a coal train to the state capital to seek help in improving the plights of miners and their canaries. While there, Bitty manages to bring together two men: a state senator and the inventor of a machine that can replace canaries. But Bittys return to Coalbank Hollow coincides with a shattering mining accident that affects humans and canaries alike.

In the tradition of E.B. White and George Selden, Madelyn Rosenberg has written and extraordinary novel starring unforgettable animals in an incredibly imaginative society
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Origins of Common Sayings: Coal Miner Edition

Never mind the gas—it was automation that got them in the end.
Madelyn Rosenberg

meaning and origin of ‘canary in the coal mine’

The phrase a , or the , canary in a , or the , coal mine denotes an early indicator of potential danger or failure. It refers to the former practice of taking live canaries into coal mines to test for the presence of toxic gases, particularly carbon monoxide, the illness or death of the canaries serving as an indication that such gases were present. The earliest mention of this practice that I have found is from the Yorkshire Telegraph and Star Sheffield, Yorkshire of Friday 21 st December , which gave an account of the inquest that had been held the previous day at Ouston, near Chester-le-Street, on the four victims of an explosion at Arpeth pit:. Blackett, a mining expert, said that along with the Mines Inspector he made an attempt to reach the scene of the explosion, taking with him a canary in a cage, a safety lamp, and an electric hand lamp. They were well equipped to explore the workings with safety. Upon reaching a point beyond which it had hitherto been impossible to penetrate, they got a competent man to test the place with a safety lamp, and finding only a small bluecap, he took a deep breath, and with the electric lamp and the bird he made a rapid advance, left the bird , and retired. Returning with the safety lamp, and finding the bird on its perch, he advanced again and again in the same way, until he and the inspector came to the place where a body was lying.

Sentinel species are organisms , often animals, used to detect risks to humans by providing advance warning of a danger. The terms primarily apply in the context of environmental hazards rather than those from other sources. Some animals can act as sentinels because they may be more susceptible or have greater exposure to a particular hazard than humans in the same environment. Plants and other living organisms have also been used for these purposes. There are countless examples of environmental effects on animals that later manifested in humans.

An allusion to caged canaries birds that mining workers would carry down into the mine tunnels with them. If dangerous gases such as methane or carbon monoxide leaked into the mine, the gases would kill the canary before killing the miners, thus providing a warning to exit the tunnels immediately. By continuing, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Please set a username for yourself. People will see it as Author Name with your public flash cards. Definitions canary-in-a-coal-mine. Noun plural canaries in a coal mine idiomatic Something whose sensitivity to adverse conditions makes it a useful early indicator of such conditions; something which warns of the coming of greater danger or trouble by a deterioration in its health or welfare.

An allusion to caged canaries (birds) that miners would carry down into the mine tunnels with them. If dangerous gases such as carbon monoxide collected in.
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Like this video? Subscribe to our free daily email and get a new idiom video every day! Something or someone who, due to sensitivity to his, her, or its surroundings, acts as an indicator and early warning of possible adverse conditions or danger. Refers to the former practice of taking caged canaries into coal mines. The birds would die if methane gas became present and thereby alert miners to the danger. Wildlife in disaster movies assumes the role of the canary in a coal mine, fleeing the scene when catastrophe is imminent. Unaware that he had been given the test drug, John was used as a canary in a coal mine to see its effects on the human mind.

By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy , Privacy Policy , and our Terms of Service. It only takes a minute to sign up. At first I thought it was because the canary is yellow and the coal black This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center , please edit the question. A canary in a coal mine is an advanced warning of some danger.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Quibabebuz1991 says:

    Canary in a coal mine - Idioms by The Free Dictionary

  2. Troy D. says:

    canary in a coal mine - Wiktionary

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