Taken (at least as early as Wycliffe's Bible, 1382-1395, which has Chanaan) from Ecclesiastical Latin Chanaān, from Ancient Greek Χαναάν (Khanaán), expanded from Χνᾶ (Khnâ), from Hebrew כְּנַעַן (k'ná'an). The first vowel shifted from /aː/ to /eɪ/ in the Great Vowel Shift; at least as early as Milton (1660s), the word could already be pronounced with two syllables, though at least as late as the 1880s it could also be pronounced with three, /ˈkeɪ.nə.æn/.
- A historical region in the Middle East, roughly equivalent to Palestine.
- A grandson of Noah.
- 1611, The Holy Bible, […] (King James Version), London: […] Robert Barker, […], OCLC 964384981, Genesis 10:15-18::
- And Canaan begat Sidon his first born, and Heth, and the Jebusite, and the Amorite, and the Girgasite, and the Hivite, and the Arkite, and the Sinite, and the Arvadite, and the Zemarite, and the Hamathite: and afterward were the families of the Canaanites spread abroad.
- (rare) A male given name from Hebrew of biblical origin.
- The name of multiple places in North America named after the historic region, including:
- ^ “Canaan” in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press., which (incorrectly) dates the borrowing to the early 1600s
- ^ Joseph Thomas, Thomas Baldwin, A Complete Pronouncing Gazetteer, Or, Geographical Dictionary (1880), page 361: "Canaan, kà´nạn or kà´nạ-an, a name applied in Scripture to the Promised Land of the Israelites." (The addition of 1868, page 349, has "CANAAN, ká´nạn or ká´nạ-an, a name applied in Scripture to the 'Promised Land'".) This corresponds to /ˈkeɪ.nən/, /ˈkeɪ.nə.æn/. George Walter Baynham, Baynham's Elocution, select readings (1883), page 11, says "Pronounce the vowel sound as in fat: — Canaan, banian, tapestry, […] ".
- ^ John Walker, A Key to the Classical Pronunciation of Greek, Latin, and Scripture (1807), page 232 (re the pronunciation with three syllables existing and beign accented on the antepenult) and page 174 (re Milton using it with two syllables).