tin can

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tin can (plural tin cans)

  1. A container, usually cylindrical, made out of sheet metal coated with tin, or (by extension) aluminum.
  2. (nautical, slang) A destroyer.
    • 2000, Donald F. Myers, Your War, My War: A Marine in Vietnam, →ISBN, page 305:
      As the tin can sailors started telling us what they thought of AKA sailors, which they said were inferior seamen habing to serve aboard an auxiliary vessel instead of a ship of the line;
  3. (slang) An inexpensive car.
    • 2010, Heather Vogel Frederick, The Mother-Daughter Book Club, →ISBN, page 21:
      They're driving the same tin can they've had since Emma and I were in kindergarten.
    • 2016, Liz Nugent, Lying In Wait, →ISBN, page 134:
      We got a shockingly low price for it and bought a small tin-can run-around.
  4. (slang) A motor home or trailer.
    • 2007, Errol L. Sweetser, Quest for the Ridge: A Childhood Adventure, →ISBN, page 34:
      I was too late as bearing down the ribbon of no return was a huge tin can piloted by two women with hair blowing over the side windows.
  5. (science fiction) A metal spaceship or space station.


  • (container): tin (British, Australian & Canadian), can (US & Canadian)


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