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From Old Northern French cantel, Old French chantel (Modern French chanteau), from Medieval Latin cantellus, diminutive of Latin cantus (corner).



cantle (plural cantles)

  1. (obsolete) A splinter, slice, or sliver broken off something.
    • 1903, A. W. Pollard (ed.), Le Morte d'Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory (1485) , volume I, Bk. I, chapter XXIII:
      him thought no worship to have a knight at such avail, he to be on horseback and he on foot, and so he alighted and dressed his shield unto Arthur. And there began a strong battle with many great strokes, and so hewed with their swords that the cantels flew in the fields, and much blood they bled both, that all the place there as they fought was overbled with blood,
      1485, Sir Thomas Malory, chapter xxiij, in Le Morte Darthur, book I:
      hym thought no worship to haue a knyght at suche auaille he to be on horsbak and he on foot and so he alyght & dressid his sheld vnto Arthur & ther begā a strong bataille with many grete strokes / & soo hewe with her swerdes that the cantels flewe in the feldes / and moche blood they bledde bothe / that al the place there as they faught was ouer bledde with blood
    • 1598, William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part 1, Act III, Scene i:
      See how this river comes me cranking in, / And cuts me from the best of all my land / A huge half-moon, a monstrous cantle out.
    • 1600, Edward Fairfax (tr.), The Jerusalem Delivered of Tasso, Book VI, xlviii:
      Their armors forged were of metal frail; / On every side thereof huge cantles flies; / The land was strewed all with plate and mail, / That on the earth, on that their warm blood lies.
    • John Milton (1608-1674)
      In one cantle of his law.
  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.



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.