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- ca'n't (obsolete)
- (General Australian) enPR: känt, IPA(key): /kaːnt/, [kʰä̃ːnt]
Audio (AU) (file)
- (Indian English) IPA(key): /kaːɳʈ/
- (Received Pronunciation, some US speakers) enPR: känt, IPA(key): /kɑːnt/, [kʰɑ̃ːnt]
- (Scotland, Ireland, Northern England) enPR: känt
- (most US speakers, Canada, some Irish speakers) enPR: kănt, IPA(key): /kænt/, [kæn(ʔ)]
- (Southern American English) IPA(key): [kʰẽɪ̃nt]
- Homophones: cant, Kant (in some dialects)
- Cannot (negative auxiliary); is unable to; does not have the ability to.
- Is forbidden to; is not permitted to.
- Often followed by be: is logically impossible.
- Antonyms: be able to, can, have to, must
- 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