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[kan-tn-eez, -ees] /ˌkæn tnˈiz, -ˈis/
noun, plural Cantonese.
a Chinese language spoken in Canton, the surrounding area of southern China, and Hong Kong.
a native or inhabitant of Canton, China.
pertaining to Canton, China, its inhabitants, or their language.
Origin of Cantonese
First recorded in 1855-60; Canton + -ese Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for Cantonese
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • They know us by the Cantonese laundrymen, the class which ranks with their lowest classes.

  • Our lower classes, "coolies" from the Cantonese districts, have flocked to America.

  • A Shanghai man, for instance, is unintelligible to a Cantonese, and so on.

    The Civilization Of China Herbert A. Giles
  • She wore Manchu dress, which puzzled us, as she is Cantonese.

    Intimate China Mrs. Archibald Little
  • My followers were only six in number—W—— and the five Cantonese.

  • The Cantonese have prestige in cleaning and preparing the root for market.

    Ginseng and Other Medicinal Plants A. R. (Arthur Robert) Harding
  • Kazu spoke briefly in Cantonese to each group, and then hurried on.

    The Image and the Likeness John Scott Campbell
British Dictionary definitions for Cantonese


the Chinese language spoken in the city of Canton, Guangdong and Guanxi provinces, Hong Kong, and elsewhere outside China
(pl) -ese. a native or inhabitant of the city of Canton or Guangdong province
of or relating to the city of Canton, Guangdong province, or the Chinese language spoken there
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 Cantonese

1816, from Canton, former transliteration of the name of the Chinese region now known in English as Guangzhou. The older name is from the former British-run, Hong Kong-based Chinese postal system. As an adjective from 1840.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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