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[keyn] /keɪn/
Scot. and Irish English. rent paid in kind, especially a percentage of a farm crop.
Origin of cain
Middle English (Scots) cane < Scots Gaelic; compare Old Irish cáin statute, law, rent


[keyn] /keɪn/
the first son of Adam and Eve, who murdered his brother Abel. Gen. 4.
a murderer.
raise Cain, Slang.
  1. become angry or violent:
    He'll raise Cain when he finds out I lost his watch.
  2. to behave in a boisterous manner; cause a disturbance:
    The students raised Cain while the teacher was out.
Related forms
Cainism, noun
[key-nit-ik] /keɪˈnɪt ɪk/ (Show IPA),


[keyn] /keɪn/
James M. 1892–1977, U.S. novelist. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for cain
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • cain, the older brother, chose to work in the fields, and to raise grain and fruits.

    The Wonder Book of Bible Stories Compiled by Logan Marshall
  • There was when cain was born no established convention that all babies are pretty.

    Folkways William Graham Sumner
  • God has not forgotten them, though they are haughtily ignored by proud cain, who regards them as nothing in his presence.

  • We are among the mountains of Lebanon, where dwell the descendants of cain.

  • If therefore the honor and prerogative were anything in God's sight, cain certainly had wherein to glory.

British Dictionary definitions for cain


(history) (in Scotland and Ireland) payment in kind, usually farm produce paid as rent
Word Origin
C12: from Scottish Gaelic cāin rent, perhaps ultimately from Late Latin canōn tribute (see canon); compare Middle Irish cāin law


the first son of Adam and Eve, who killed his brother Abel (Genesis 4:1–16)
raise Cain
  1. to cause a commotion
  2. to react or protest heatedly
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for cain


elder son of Adam and Eve, from Hebrew Qayin, literally "created one," also "smith," from Semitic stem q-y-n "to form, to fashion." To raise Cain is first recorded 1840. Surnames McCain, McCann, etc., are a contraction of Irish Mac Cathan "son of Cathan," from Celtic cathan, literally "warrior," from cath "battle."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for cain


Related Terms

raise cain

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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cain in the Bible

a possession; a spear. (1.) The first-born son of Adam and Eve (Gen. 4). He became a tiller of the ground, as his brother Abel followed the pursuits of pastoral life. He was "a sullen, self-willed, haughty, vindictive man; wanting the religious element in his character, and defiant even in his attitude towards God." It came to pass "in process of time" (marg. "at the end of days"), i.e., probably on the Sabbath, that the two brothers presented their offerings to the Lord. Abel's offering was of the "firstlings of his flock and of the fat," while Cain's was "of the fruit of the ground." Abel's sacrifice was "more excellent" (Heb. 11:4) than Cain's, and was accepted by God. On this account Cain was "very wroth," and cherished feelings of murderous hatred against his brother, and was at length guilty of the desperate outrage of putting him to death (1 John 3:12). For this crime he was expelled from Eden, and henceforth led the life of an exile, bearing upon him some mark which God had set upon him in answer to his own cry for mercy, so that thereby he might be protected from the wrath of his fellow-men; or it may be that God only gave him some sign to assure him that he would not be slain (Gen. 4:15). Doomed to be a wanderer and a fugitive in the earth, he went forth into the "land of Nod", i.e., the land of "exile", which is said to have been in the "east of Eden," and there he built a city, the first we read of, and called it after his son's name, Enoch. His descendants are enumerated to the sixth generation. They gradually degenerated in their moral and spiritual condition till they became wholly corrupt before God. This corruption prevailed, and at length the Deluge was sent by God to prevent the final triumph of evil. (See ABEL.) (2.) A town of the Kenites, a branch of the Midianites (Josh. 15:57), on the east edge of the mountain above Engedi; probably the "nest in a rock" mentioned by Balaam (Num. 24:21). It is identified with the modern Yekin, 3 miles south-east of Hebron.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Idioms and Phrases with cain


see: raise Cain
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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