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From Middle English cantle, cantel, from Old Northern French cantel, Old French chantel (Modern French chanteau, Bourguignon chainteâ), from Medieval Latin cantellus, diminutive of Latin cantus (corner). Compare cant (Etymology 3).


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈkantəl/
    • (file)
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈkæntəl/


cantle (plural cantles)

  1. (obsolete) A splinter, slice, or sliver broken off something.
  2. The raised back of a saddle.
    • 1888, Rudyard Kipling, ‘The Arrest of Lieutenant Golightly’, Plain Tales from the Hills, Folio 2005, p.93:
      He recognised a horse when he saw one, and could do more than fill a cantle.
    • 1926, T. E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom:
      Next day, he returned with a camel-saddle of equal beauty, the long brass horns of its cantles adorned with exquisite old Yemeni engraving.
    • 1994, Cormac McCarthy, The Crossing:
      The traps were packed in the splitwillow basket that his father wore with the shoulderstraps loosed so that the bottom of the basket carried on the cantle of the saddle behind him.
  3. (Scotland) The top of the head.
  4. (Scotland) On many styles of sporran, a metal arc along the top of the pouch, usually fronting the clasp.



cantle (third-person singular simple present cantles, present participle cantling, simple past and past participle cantled)

  1. (obsolete, transitive) To cut into pieces.
  2. (obsolete, transitive) To cut out from.