Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
- (Australia) enPR: känt, IPA(key): /kaːnt/, [kʰäːnt]
Audio (AUS) (file)
- (Received Pronunciation, some US speakers) enPR: känt, IPA(key): /kɑːnt/, [kʰɑːnt]
- (most US speakers, Canada, Scotland, Ireland, Northern England) enPR: kănt, IPA(key): /kænt/, /kæn(ʔ)/
- (æ-tensing) IPA(key): [keənt]
- (Southern American English) IPA(key): [keɪnt]
- Rhymes: -eɪnt
- Homophones: cant, Kant (in some dialects)
- Cannot; is unable to; does not have the ability to.
I can’t quite get it to work.
- Is forbidden to; is not permitted to.
You can’t enter the hall without a ticket.
- Often with be: is logically impossible.
The butler can’t be the murderer because he was in London that evening.
1750, W[illiam] Ellis, The Country Housewife's Family Companion: Or Profitable Directions for Whatever Relates to the Management and Good Œconomy of the Domestick Concerns of a Country Life, According to the Present Practice of the Country Gentleman's, the Yeoman's, the Farmer's, &c. Wives, in the Counties of Hertford, Bucks, and Other Parts of England: Shewing how Great Savings may be Made in Housekeeping: [...] With Variety of Curious Matters [...] The Whole Founded on Near Thirty Years Experience, London: Printed for James Hodges, at the Looking-glass, facing St. Magnus Church, London-Bridge; and B. Collins, bookseller, at Salisbury, OCLC 837728611, page 157:
- To make Capons […] [S]ome for this Purpoſe make it their Buſineſs after Harveſt-time to go to Markets for buying up Chickens, and between Michaelmas and All-hollantide caponize the Cocks, when they have got large enough to have Stones [i.e., testes] of ſuch a Bigneſs that they may be pulled out; for if they are too little, it can't be done; […]
- Some US dialects that glottalize the final /t/ in can’t (/kæn(ʔ)/), in order to differentiate can’t from can, pronounce can as /kɛn/ even when stressed.
cannot — see cannot
Most common English words before 1923 in Project Gutenberg: ye · common · subject · #440: can't · ready · ought · written