Definify.com

Webster 1913 Edition


Can

Can

(kăn)
,
an
obs.
form of
began
, imp. & p. p. of
Begin
, sometimes used in old poetry.
[See
Gan
.]
With gentle words he
can
faile gree.
Spenser.

Can

,
Noun.
[OE. & AS.
canne
; akin to D.
Kan
, G.
Kanne
, OHG.
channa
, Sw.
Kanna
, Dan.
kande
.]
1.
A drinking cup; a vessel for holding liquids.
[Shak. ]
Fill the cup and fill
can
,
Have a rouse before the morn.
Tennyson.
2.
A vessel or case of tinned iron or of sheet metal, of various forms, but usually cylindrical;
as, a
can
of tomatoes; an oil
can
; a milk
can
.
☞ A can may be a cylinder open at the top, as for receiving the sliver from a carding machine, or with a removable cover or stopper, as for holding tea, spices, milk, oysters, etc., or with handle and spout, as for holding oil, or hermetically sealed, in canning meats, fruits, etc. The name is also sometimes given to the small glass or earthenware jar used in canning.

Can

,
Verb.
T.
[
imp. & p. p.
Canned
;
p. pr. & vb. n.
Canning
.]
To preserve by putting in sealed cans
[U. S.]
Canned meats”
W. D. Howells.

Can

,
Verb.
T.
&
I.
[The transitive use is obsolete.]
[
imp.
Could
(#)
.]
[OE.
cunnen
,
cannen
(1st sing. pres.
I can
), to know, know how, be able, AS.
cunnan
, 1st sing. pres.
ic cann
or
can
, pl.
cunnon
, 1st sing. imp.
cūðe
(for
cunðe
); p. p.
cūð
(for
cunð
); akin to OS.
Kunnan
, D.
Kunnen
, OHG.
chunnan
, G.
können
, Icel.
kunna
, Goth.
Kunnan
, and E.
ken
to know. The present tense
I can
(AS.
ic cann
) was originally a preterit, meaning
I have known
or
Learned
, and hence
I know
,
know how
. √45. See
Ken
,
Know
; cf.
Con
,
Cunning
,
Uncouth
.]
1.
To know; to understand.
[Obs.]
I
can
rimes of Robin Hood.
Piers Plowman.
I
can
no Latin, quod she.
Piers Plowman.
Let the priest in surplice white,
That defunctive music
can
.
Shakespeare
2.
To be able to do; to have power or influence.
[Obs.]
The will of Him who all things
can
.
Milton.
For what, alas,
can
these my single arms?
Shakespeare
Mæcænas and Agrippa, who
can
most with Cæsar.
Beau. & Fl.
Syn.
Can but
,
Can not but
. It is an error to use the former of these phrases where the sens requires the latter. If we say, “I can but perish if I go,” “But” means only, and denotes that this is all or the worst that can happen. When the apostle Peter said. “We can not but speak of the things which we have seen and heard.” he referred to a moral constraint or necessety which rested upon him and his associates; and the meaning was, We cannot help speaking, We cannot refrain from speaking. This idea of a moral necessity or constraint is of frequent occurrence, and is also expressed in the phrase, “I can not help it.” Thus we say. “I can not but hope,” “I can not but believe,” “I can not but think,” “I can not but remark,” etc., in cases in which it would be an error to use the phrase can but.
Yet he
could not but
acknowledge to himself that there was something calculated to impress awe, . . . in the sudden appearances and vanishings . . . of the masque
De Quincey.
Tom felt that this was a rebuff for him, and
could not but
understand it as a left-handed hit at his employer.
Dickens.

Webster 1828 Edition


Can

CAN

,
Noun.
A cup or vessel for liquors, in modern times made of metal; as a can of ale.

CAN

,
Verb.
I.
pret. could, which is from another root. [See Could.]
1.
To be able; to have sufficient strength or physical power. One man can lift a weight which another can not. A horse can run a certain distance in a given time.
2.
To have means, or instruments, which supply power or ability. A man can build a house, or fit out a ship, if he has the requisite property. A nation cannot prosecute a war, without money or credit. I will lend you a thousand dollars, if I can.
3.
To be possible.
Nicodemus said, How can these thing be? John 3.
4.
To have adequate moral power. A man can indulge in pleasure, or he can refrain. He can restrain his appetites, if he will.
5.
To have just or legal competent power, that is, right; to be free from any restraint of moral, civil or political obligation, or from any positive prohibition. We can use a highway for travel, for this is permitted by law. A man can or cannot hold an office. The Jews could not eat certain kinds of animals which were declared to be unclean. The House of Commons in England can impeach, but the House of Lords only can try impeachments. In general, we can do whatever neither the laws of God nor of man forbid.
How can I do this great wickedness and sin against God. Gen. 34.
I cannot go beyond the word of the Lord, my God, to do less or more. Numb. 22.
6.
To have natural strength, or capacity; to be susceptible of; to be able or free to undergo any change, or produce any effect, by the laws and constitution of nature, or by divine appointment. Silver can be melted, but cannot be changed into gold.
Can the rush grow without mire? Job 8.
Can the fig tree bear olive berries? James 3.
Can faith save him? James 2.
7.
To have competent strength, ability, fortitude, patience, &c., in a passive sense. He cannot bear reproof. I cannot endure this impertinence.
This is a hard saying; who can hear it? John 6.
8.
To have the requisite knowledge, experience or skill. Young men are not admitted members of college, till they can translate Latin and Greek. An astronomer can calculate an eclipse, though he can not make a coat.
9.
To have strength of inclination or motives sufficient to overcome obstacles, impediments, inconvenience or other objection.
I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. Luke 9.
I cannot rise and give thee - yet because of him importunity, he will rise and give him. Luke 9.
10.
To have sufficient capacity; as, a vessel can not hold or contain the whole quantity.

CAN

,
Verb.
T.
To know.

Definition 2021


Can

Can

See also: can and Appendix:Variations of "can"

English

Abbreviation

Can

  1. Alternative spelling of Can.

Anagrams


Turkish

Pronunciation

  • IPA(key): /dʒan/

Etymology

From can, from Persian جان (jân, soul, vital spirit, life).

Noun

Can (definite accusative Canı, plural Canlar)

  1. A male given name which means "the spirit", "heart", "life", "vitality".
Declension
See also

can

can

See also: Appendix:Variations of "can"

English

Pronunciation

  • (stressed)
    • enPR: kăn, IPA(key): /kæn/, /kɛn/
    • Rhymes: -æn
  • (unstressed)
    • IPA(key): /kən/, /kn̩/, /kɪn/

Verb

can (third-person singular simple present can, present participle -, simple past could, past participle (obsolete except in adjective use) couth)

  1. (modal auxiliary verb, defective) To know how to; to be able to.
    She can speak English, French, and German.   I can play football.   Can you remember your fifth birthday?
    • Reginald Pecock (15th c.)
      Clerks which can write books.
    • 2013 July-August, Lee S. Langston, The Adaptable Gas Turbine”, in American Scientist:
      Turbines have been around for a long time—windmills and water wheels are early examples. The name comes from the Latin turbo, meaning vortex, and thus the defining property of a turbine is that a fluid or gas turns the blades of a rotor, which is attached to a shaft that can perform useful work.
  2. (modal auxiliary verb, defective, informal) May; to be permitted or enabled to.
    You can go outside and play when you're finished with your homework.   Can I use your pen?
  3. (modal auxiliary verb, defective) To be possible, usually with be.
    Can it be Friday already?
    • 1922, Ben Travers, chapter 5, in A Cuckoo in the Nest:
      The most rapid and most seductive transition in all human nature is that which attends the palliation of a ravenous appetite. [] Can those harmless but refined fellow-diners be the selfish cads whose gluttony and personal appearance so raised your contemptuous wrath on your arrival?
  4. (obsolete, transitive) To know.
Usage notes
  • For missing forms, substitute inflected forms of be able to, as:
    • I might be able to go.
    • I was able to go yesterday.
    • I have been able to go, since I was seven.
    • I had been able to go before.
    • I will be able to go tomorrow.
  • The word could also suffices in many tenses. “I would be able to go” is equivalent to “I could go”, and “I was unable to go” can be rendered “I could not go”. (Unless there is a clear indication otherwise, “could verb” means “would be able to verb”, but “could not verb” means “was/were unable to verb”.)
  • The present tense negative can not is often contracted to cannot or can’t.
  • The use of can in asking permission sometimes is criticized as being impolite or incorrect by those who favour the more formal alternative “may I...?”.
  • Can is sometimes used rhetorically to issue a command, placing the command in the form of a request. For instance, “Can you hand me that pen?” as a polite substitution for “Hand me that pen.”
  • 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.
Synonyms
Antonyms
See also
  • Appendix:English modal verbs
  • Appendix:English tag questions
Translations

Etymology 2

From Middle English canne, from Old English canne (glass, container, cup, can), from Proto-Germanic *kannǭ (can, tankard, mug, cup), perhaps from Proto-Indo-European *gan-, *gandʰ- (a vessel). Cognate with Scots can (can), West Frisian kanne (a jug, pitcher), Dutch kan (pot, mug), German Kanne (can, tankard, mug), Danish kande (can, mug, a measure), Swedish kanna (can, tankard, mug), Icelandic kanna (a can).

Pronunciation

Noun

a can (3)

can (plural cans)

  1. A more or less cylindrical vessel for liquids, usually of steel or aluminium.
  2. A container used to carry and dispense water for plants (a watering can).
  3. A tin-plate canister, often cylindrical, for preserved foods such as fruit, meat, or fish.
  4. (archaic) A chamber pot, now (US, slang) a toilet.
    **** or get off the can.
  5. (US, slang) A place with a toilet: a lavatory.
    Bob's in the can. You can wait a few minutes or just leave it with me.
  6. (US, slang) Buttocks.
  7. (slang) Jail or prison.
    Bob's in the can. He won't be back for a few years.
  8. (slang) Headphones.
  9. (obsolete) A drinking cup.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Shakespeare to this entry?)
    • Tennyson
      Fill the cup and fill the can, / Have a rouse before the morn.
  10. (nautical) A cube-shaped buoy or marker used to denote a port-side lateral mark
Synonyms
  • (toilet): See Wikisaurus:chamber pot and Wikisaurus:toilet
  • (place with a toilet): See Wikisaurus:bathroom
  • (cylindrical metal container): tin (British & Australian at least)
Hyponyms
Derived terms
Related terms
Translations

Verb

can (third-person singular simple present cans, present participle canning, simple past and past participle canned)

  1. To preserve, by heating and sealing in a can or jar.
    They spent August canning fruit and vegetables.
  2. to discard, scrap or terminate (an idea, project, etc.).
    He canned the whole project because he thought it would fail.
  3. To shut up.
    Can your gob.
  4. (US, euphemistic) To fire or dismiss an employee.
    The boss canned him for speaking out.
Translations

Statistics

Most common English words before 1923: then · A · should · #81: can · made · did · such

Anagrams


Afar

Noun

can

  1. milk

Asturian

Etymology

From Latin canis, canem.

Noun

can m (plural canes)

  1. dog (animal)

Synonyms


Azeri

Other scripts
Cyrillic ҹан
Roman can
Perso-Arabic جان

Etymology

Borrowing from Persian جان (jân, soul, vital spirit, life), whence also Turkish can and Armenian ջան (ǰan).

Noun

can (definite accusative canı, plural canlar)

  1. soul, spirit
  2. being, creature, life
  3. body
  4. force, vigour

Declension


Catalan

Contraction

can

  1. Contraction of casa en; house of, chez

Synonyms


Classical Nahuatl

Alternative forms

Pronunciation

  • IPA(key): /kaːn/

Adverb

cān

  1. where

Derived terms

Related terms


Galician

Etymology 1

From Old Portuguese can, from Latin canis, canem.

Noun

can m (plural cans)

  1. dog

Related terms

Noun

can m (plural cans)

  1. trigger

Interlingua

Noun

can (plural canes)

  1. dog
  2. cock, hammer (of a firearm)

Irish

Etymology

From Old Irish canaid, from Proto-Celtic *kaneti (to sing), from Proto-Indo-European *keh₂n-. Compare Welsh canu, Latin canō, Ancient Greek καναχέω (kanakhéō), Persian خواندن (xândan).

Pronunciation

  • IPA(key): /kanˠ/

Verb

can (present analytic canann, future analytic canfaidh, verbal noun canadh, past participle canta)

  1. to sing

Conjugation

Mutation

Irish mutation
Radical Lenition Eclipsis
can chan gcan
Note: Some of these forms may be hypothetical. Not every
possible mutated form of every word actually occurs.

Istriot

Etymology

From Latin canis.

Noun

can m

  1. dog

Italian

Noun

can m (plural cani)

  1. (poetic and literary form of cane) dog

Noun

can m (invariable)

  1. khan

Ligurian

Etymology

From Latin canis, canem.

Noun

can m (plural chen)

  1. dog

Lojban

Rafsi

can

  1. rafsi of canre.

Mandarin

Romanization

can

  1. Nonstandard spelling of cān.
  2. Nonstandard spelling of cán.
  3. Nonstandard spelling of cǎn.
  4. Nonstandard spelling of càn.

Usage notes

  • English transcriptions of Mandarin speech often fail to distinguish between the critical tonal differences employed in the Mandarin language, using words such as this one without the appropriate indication of tone.

Occitan

Etymology

From Old Provençal [Term?], from Latin canis, canem.

Noun

can m (plural cans)

  1. dog, hound

Old Portuguese

Etymology

From Latin canis (dog), from Proto-Indo-European *ḱwṓ (dog).

Pronunciation

  • IPA(key): /ˈkã/

Noun

can m

  1. dog

Descendants


Old Provençal

Etymology

From Latin quandō.

Conjunction

can

  1. when

Adverb

can

  1. (interrogative) when

Descendants


Scots

Verb

can

  1. can
  2. be able to
    He shuid can dae that. ― He should be able to do that.

Scottish Gaelic

Etymology

From Old Irish canaid (to sing), from Proto-Celtic *kaneti (to sing), from Proto-Indo-European *keh₂n-. Compare Welsh canu, Latin canō, Ancient Greek καναχέω (kanakhéō), Persian خواندن (xândan).

Verb

can (past chan, future canaidh, verbal noun cantainn, past participle cante)

  1. to say

References

  • Faclair Gàidhlig Dwelly Air Loidhne, Dwelly, Edward (1911), Faclair Gàidhlig gu Beurla le Dealbhan/The Illustrated [Scottish] Gaelic-English Dictionary (10th ed.), Edinburgh: Birlinn Limited, ISBN 0 901771 92 9

Spanish

Etymology

From Latin canis, canem (compare Aromanian cãne, Catalan ca, French chien, Italian cane, Portuguese cão), from Proto-Italic *kō (accusative *kwanem), from Proto-Indo-European *ḱwṓ (accusative *ḱwónm̥).

Pronunciation

  • IPA(key): /kan/
  • Rhymes: -an

Noun

can m (plural canes)

  1. dog, hound

Synonyms

Hypernyms

Hyponyms

Related terms


Turkish

Etymology

Borrowing from Persian جان (jân, soul, vital spirit, life).

Pronunciation

  • IPA(key): /dʒan/

Noun

can (definite accusative canı, plural canlar)

  1. soul, life, being
  2. sweetheart

Declension

See also


Venetian

Etymology

From Latin canis, canem.

Pronunciation

  • IPA(key): /kaŋ/

Noun

can m (plural cani)

  1. dog

Vietnamese

Etymology

From French calque

Pronunciation

Verb

can

  1. to trace (through translucent paper), to do tracing

Derived terms


Volapük

Noun

can (plural cans)

  1. sales commodity, merchandise, wares

Declension


Welsh

Pronunciation

Adjective

can

  1. bleached, white
  2. hundred

Noun

can m (plural caniau)

  1. a can
  2. flour

See also

Mutation

Welsh mutation
radical soft nasal aspirate
can gan nghan chan
Note: Some of these forms may be hypothetical. Not every
possible mutated form of every word actually occurs.

References