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Origin of canasta

1945–50; < Spanish: literally, basket, apparently variant of canastro < Greek kánastron wicker basket (see canister) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for canasta

poker, roulette, bridge, lottery, bingo, canasta, gin, lotto, pinochle, twenty-one

Examples from the Web for canasta

Historical Examples of canasta

  • There were the Jones' for bridge and the Graysons' for canasta and charades with the Bryants.

British Dictionary definitions for canasta


  1. a card game for two to six players who seek to amass points by declaring sets of cards
  2. Also called: meld a declared set in this game, containing seven or more like cards, worth 500 points if the canasta is pure or 300 if wild (containing up to three jokers)

Word Origin for canasta

C20: from Spanish: basket (because two packs, or a basketful, of cards are required), variant of canastro, from Latin canistrum; see canister
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

Word Origin and History for canasta

1948, Uruguayan card game played with two decks and four jokers, popular c.1945-1965; from Spanish, literally "basket," from Latin canistrum (see cannister); perhaps in reference to the "packs" of cards used.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper