auxiliary verb, present singular 1st person can,2nd can or (Archaic) canst,3rd can,present plural can;past singular 1st person could,2nd could or (Archaic) couldst,3rd could,past plural could.
verb (used with or without object), present singular 1st person can,2nd can or (Archaic) canst,3rd can,present plural can;past singular 1st person could,2nd could or (Archaic) couldst,3rd could,past plural could;imperative can;infinitive can;past participle could;present participle cun·ning.
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Origin of can1
usage note for can
words often confused with can
Words nearby can
Definition for can (2 of 4)
- a depth charge.
- a destroyer.
verb (used with object), canned, can·ning.
Origin of can2
Definition for can (3 of 4)
Definition for can (4 of 4)
How to use can in a sentence
So it's really a take-what-you-can-get kind of situation with him.‘Scandal’ Review: Olivia Pope Has Lost Her Damn Mind|Kevin Fallon|September 26, 2014|DAILY BEAST
The shards of one can be used to cut someone (never mind the constant availability of soup-can tops).Prisoners Get Cultural Fix with 8-Tracks and Bootleg Cassettes|Daniel Genis|August 18, 2014|DAILY BEAST
But no deal has been as bold as their newest: all-you-can-eat appetizers for the summer.
Just how dedicated is the mega-chain to its new all-you-can-eat summer promotion?
However, limit yourself to one plate rather than adopting an all-you-can-eat mindset.When Is It OK to Cheat? The Pros and Cons of Cheat Days|DailyBurn|July 14, 2014|DAILY BEAST
From Bungay in Suffolk comes the news that a water-wagtail has built its nest in a milk-can.
When he waded past Captain Can-dage he heard the old skipper trying to comfort the girl, his voice low and broken by sobs.Blow The Man Down|Holman Day
He kept his worms there, between his cap lining and his hair; it saved the trouble of a bait-can.Thirty Years in Australia|Ada Cambridge
"Mind old Jerry's ghost doesn't catch hold of you," cried her waggish brother Jack, as she crossed the threshold, tea-can in hand.Little Folks (November 1884)|Various
Bob, Bob, massa him want can-noo go see great big ship mighty quick.Duffels|Edward Eggleston
British Dictionary definitions for can (1 of 3)
verb past could (takes an infinitive without to or an implied infinitive) (intr)
Word Origin for can
British Dictionary definitions for can (2 of 3)
- (of a film, piece of music, etc) having been recorded, processed, edited, etc
- informal arranged or agreedthe contract is almost in the can
verb cans, canning or canned
Word Origin for can
British Dictionary definitions for can (3 of 3)
Idioms and Phrases with can
In addition to the idioms beginning with can
- can do with
- canned laughter
- can of worms
- as best one can
- before you can say Jack Robinson
- bite off more than one can chew
- carry the can
- catch as catch can
- game that two can play
- get the ax (can)
- in the can
- more than one can shake a stick at
- no can do
- you can bet your ass
- you can lead a horse to water
- you can say that again
- you never can tell
Also see undercan't.