cant

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See also: can't and cânt

English[edit]

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Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Latin cantō probably via Old Northern French canter (sing, tell), cognate with chant.

Noun[edit]

cant (usually uncountable, plural cants)

  1. (countable) An argot, the jargon of a particular class or subgroup.
    He had the look of a prince, but the cant of a fishmonger.
    • 1836, Three discourses preached before the Congregational Society in Watertown, page 65
      I am aware that the phrase free inquiry has become too much a cant phrase soiled by the handling of the ignorant and the reckless by those who fall into the mistake of supposing that religion has its root in the understanding and by those who can see just far enough to doubt and no further.
  2. (countable, uncountable) A private or secret language used by a religious sect, gang, or other group.
  3. Shelta.
  4. (uncountable, pejorative) Empty, hypocritical talk.
    People claim to care about the poor of Africa, but it is largely cant.
  5. (uncountable) Whining speech, such as that used by beggars.
  6. (countable, heraldry) A blazon of a coat of arms that makes a pun upon the name of the bearer, canting arms.
  7. (obsolete) A call for bidders at a public fair; an auction.
    • Jonathan Swift
      To sell their leases by cant.
Synonyms[edit]
Related terms[edit]
Translations[edit]

Verb[edit]

cant (third-person singular simple present cants, present participle canting, simple past and past participle canted)

  1. (intransitive) To speak with the jargon of a class or subgroup.
    • Ben Jonson
      The doctor here, / When he discourseth of dissection, / Of vena cava and of vena porta, / The meseraeum and the mesentericum, / What does he else but cant?
    • Bishop Sanderson
      that uncouth affected garb of speech, or canting language, if I may so call it
  2. (intransitive) To speak in set phrases.
  3. (intransitive) To preach in a singsong fashion, especially in a false or empty manner.
    • Beaumont and Fletcher
      the rankest rogue that ever canted
  4. (intransitive, heraldry) Of a blazon, to make a pun that references the bearer of a coat of arms.
  5. (obsolete) To sell by auction, or bid at an auction.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Jonathan Swift to this entry?)

Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.

Etymology 2[edit]

Noun[edit]

cant (plural cants)

  1. (obsolete) corner, niche
    • Ben Jonson
      The first and principal person in the temple was Irene, or Peace; she was placed aloft in a cant.
  2. slope, the angle at which something is set.
  3. An outer or external angle.
  4. An inclination from a horizontal or vertical line; a slope or bevel; a tilt.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Totten to this entry?)
  5. A movement or throw that overturns something.
    • 1830, The Edinburgh Encyclopedia, volume 3, page 621
      It is not only of great service in keeping the boat in her due position on the sea, but also in creating a tendency immediately to recover from any sudden cant, or lurch, from a heavy wave; and it is besides beneficial in diminishing the violence of beating against the sides of the vessel which she may go to relieve.
  6. A sudden thrust, push, kick, or other impulse, producing a bias or change of direction; also, the bias or turn so give.
    to give a ball a cant
  7. (coopering) A segment forming a side piece in the head of a cask.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Knight to this entry?)
  8. A segment of the rim of a wooden cogwheel.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Knight to this entry?)
  9. (nautical) A piece of wood laid upon the deck of a vessel to support the bulkheads.
Related terms[edit]
Translations[edit]

Verb[edit]

cant (third-person singular simple present cants, present participle canting, simple past and past participle canted)

  1. (transitive) To set (something) at an angle.
    to cant a cask; to cant a ship
  2. (transitive) To give a sudden turn or new direction to.
    to cant round a stick of timber; to cant a football
  3. (transitive) To bevel an edge or corner.
  4. (transitive) To overturn so that the contents are emptied.
Translations[edit]

Etymology 3[edit]

EB1911 - Volume 01 - Page 001 - 1.svg This entry lacks etymological information. If you are familiar with the origin of this term, please add it to the page as described here.

Verb[edit]

cant (third-person singular simple present cants, present participle canting, simple past and past participle canted)

  1. (transitive) To divide or parcel out.

Etymology 4[edit]

From Middle English, presumably from Middle Low German *kant

Alternative forms[edit]

Adjective[edit]

cant (not comparable)

  1. (UK, dialect) lively, lusty.

Anagrams[edit]


Catalan[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Latin cantus.

Noun[edit]

cant m (plural cants)

  1. song

Italian[edit]

Noun[edit]

cant m (invariable)

  1. apocopic form of canto

Welsh[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Proto-Celtic *kantom, from Proto-Indo-European *ḱm̥tóm. Compare Breton kant.

Noun[edit]

cant m (plural cannoedd)

  1. hundred
  2. century

Etymology 2[edit]

Noun[edit]

cant m (plural cantau)

  1. hoop
  2. rim
Mutation[edit]
Welsh mutation
radical soft nasal aspirate
cant gant nghant chant
Related terms[edit]

References[edit]