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[kan-toh] /ˈkæn toʊ/
noun, plural cantos.
one of the main or larger divisions of a long poem.
Origin of canto
1580-90; < Italian < Latin cant(us) singing, song, equivalent to can(ere) to sing + -tus suffix of v. action; cf. cant1, chant Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for canto


noun (pl) -tos
(music) another word for cantus (sense 2)
a main division of a long poem
Word Origin
C16: from Italian: song, from Latin cantus, from canere to sing
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 canto

1580s, from Italian canto "song," from Latin cantus "song" (see chant (v.)). As "a section of a long poem," used in Italian by Dante, in English first by Spenser.

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



A round, inning, period, or other division of a contest: Lefty got decked in the third canto

[1910+ Sports; fr Italian, ''song,'' with reference to the 100 poetic divisions of Dante's Divina commedia]

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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