Can meaning

kăn; kən when unstressed
Am, are, or is able to.
verb
65
17
(slang) A naval destroyer.
noun
36
11
(slang) The buttocks.
noun
25
7
Have or has the moral or legal right to.
verb
21
4
Know or knows how to.
verb
20
7
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(informal) Am, are, or is permitted to; may.
verb
8
0
Know or knows how.
verb
4
0
(usage problem) Used to request or grant permission.

Can I be excused?

verb
4
1
A usually cylindrical metal container.
noun
4
1
(slang) To make a recording of.

Can the audience's applause for a TV comedy show.

verb
4
2
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Canada.
abbreviation
3
1
Ca.1360-1387, William Langland, Piers Plowman.

I can no Latin, quod she.

verb
2
0
William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

Let the priest in surplice white, / That defunctive music can.

verb
2
0
A more or less cylindrical vessel for liquids, usually of steel or aluminium.
noun
2
0
A container used to carry and dispense water for plants (a watering can).
noun
2
0
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Any of various containers usually or traditionally cylindrical, made of metal, and with a separate cover.

A milk can, a garbage can, a can of shoe polish.

noun
2
1
Canon.
abbreviation
2
1
(slang) A jail or prison.
noun
1
0
Canto.
abbreviation
1
0
(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?

verb
1
0
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(slang) Headphones.
noun
1
0
Can means someone or something knows how to, is able to, is likely to or has the right to do something.

An example of can is someone knowing how to play the piano.

An example of can is a cat being able to paint.

An example of can is a car that usually starts.

An example of can is someone having the key to a neighbor's house and being able to enter if they'd like.

verb
1
1
The definition of a can is a container normally made of metal with a lid.

An example of can is what tuna comes in.

noun
1
1
(usage problem) Used to request or grant permission.

Can I be excused?

verb
1
3
To solicit cash donations for a charity or other organization such as a club or amateur sports team by holding out a can or other container in a public place.
verb
0
0
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Canon.
abbreviation
0
0
(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?

verb
0
0
(modal auxiliary verb, defective) To be possible, usually with be.

Can it be Friday already?

verb
0
0
A tin-plate canister, often cylindrical, for preserved foods such as fruit, meat, or fish.
noun
0
0
(US, slang) Toilet, bathroom.
noun
0
0
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(US, slang) Buttocks.
noun
0
0
(slang) Jail or prison.
noun
0
0
To preserve, by heating and sealing in a can or jar.

They spent August canning fruit and vegetables.

verb
0
0
To discard, scrap or terminate (an idea, project, etc.).

He canned the whole project because he thought it would fail.

verb
0
0
To shut up.

Can your gob.

verb
0
0
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(US, euphemistic) To fire or dismiss an employee.

The boss canned him for speaking out.

verb
0
0
(slang) A toilet or restroom.
noun
0
1
To seal in an airtight container for future use; preserve.

Canning peaches.

verb
0
1
Canada.
abbreviation
0
1
Canadian.
abbreviation
0
1
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Am, are, or is likely or at all likely to.

Can that be true?

verb
0
1
Am, are, or is able.

Yes I can.

verb
0
1
Am, are, or is likely or at all likely.
verb
0
1
Have or has the moral or legal right.
verb
0
1
(informal) Am, are, or is permitted; may.
verb
0
1
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(obs.) Know(s)
verb
0
1
A container made of tinned iron or other metal, in which foods or other perishable products are sealed for preservation.
noun
0
1
The amount that a can holds.
noun
0
1
To put up in airtight cans or jars for preservation.
verb
0
1
Canadian.
abbreviation
0
1
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See CAN bus and cans.
0
1
A transmission control character indicating that the associated data is in error or is to be ignored. 12.
0
1
(sports) can of corn
  • Something that is easily accomplished, especially a routine catch of a fly ball in baseball.
idiom
0
0
can of worms
  • A complex or difficult problem.
idiom
0
0
in the can
  • Completed and ready for release, as a film or scene of a film.
idiom
0
0
can but
  • can only
idiom
0
0
in the can
  • recorded, filmed, taped, etc. but not yet released for sale, exhibition, broadcast, viewing, etc.
idiom
0
0

Idioms and Phrasal Verbs

Origin of can

  • Middle English first and third person sing. present tense of connen to know how from Old English cunnan gnō- in Indo-European roots

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • Middle English first and third person sing. present tense of connen to know how from Old English cunnan gnō- in Indo-European roots

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • Middle English canne a water container from Old English

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • 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”).

    From Wiktionary

  • From Middle English can (first and third person singular of cunnen, connen "to be able, know how") from Old English can(n), first and third person singular of cunnan (“to know how”), from Proto-Germanic *kunnaną, from Proto-Indo-European, *ǵn̥néh₃-. Compare Dutch kunnen, Low German könen, German können, Danish kunne. More at canny, cunning.

    From Wiktionary