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Can the word "song" mean story and news?

I'm reading Clash of Kings and I noticed that characters use the word song even when they're not talking about music.

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  • This would fit better on English Language and Usage (ELL); we don't generally answer language-specific questions here.
    – Draconis
    Commented Jul 19, 2022 at 19:40
  • Can you give an example?
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Jul 19, 2022 at 20:09
  • Same type: The "real" title of Game of Thrones is "A Song of Fire and Ice". In this context, a song is indeed a (long) story. This appears in other languages as well, e.g. there is a well-known German poem titled "Das Lied von der Glocke" (The Song of the Bell), which is but never sung to a melody. Nevertheless, reciting (long) stories (as a way of non-written information tradition, say) is easier if they rhyme and perhaps even easier if you enforce the meter by means of a melody. That's perhaps how you may consider the two concepts connected. Commented Jul 19, 2022 at 20:24
  • cf. Song of Roland. Commented Jul 19, 2022 at 20:47
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    @JohnLawler In BE "song and dance" is a fuss, and nothing else.
    – Greybeard
    Commented Jul 19, 2022 at 23:54

2 Answers 2

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Song has an archaic meaning of "poem". The OED says:

A combination of words and music sung with or without instrumental accompaniment; a composition, typically relatively short, consisting of lyrics, melody, and usually other elements of musical arrangement, (sometimes) esp. a poem set to music; (hence also) an instrumental piece or passage having structural or other characteristics suggestive of a song. Also occasionally: a poem, esp. one in rhymed stanzas, resembling a song. (emphasis added)

So, no, it doesn't mean "story", or "news"; but it can refer to a story which is told in verse.

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Can the word "song" mean story and news?

In some contexts - but you give no context...

OED

To change one's song (idiom) -> to change one's statement, attitude, or position.

1913 G. B. McCutcheon Fool & his Money 214 You've changed your song, my friend. A few weeks ago you were saying he ought to pay it.

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