verb (used with object), caned, can·ing.

to flog with a cane.
to furnish or make with cane: to cane chairs.

Origin of cane

1350–1400; Middle English < Middle French < Latin canna < Greek kánna < Semitic; compare Akkadian qanū, Hebrew qāneh reed
Related formscane·like, adjectivecan·y, adjectivere·cane, verb (used with object), re·caned, re·can·ing.un·caned, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for cane

pole, rod, staff, pikestaff

Examples from the Web for cane

Contemporary Examples of cane

Historical Examples of cane

  • And you seized his cane in a fury, and broke it in returning the blow.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • There are other details I might mention—that cane, for instance—but let it pass.

  • He drew the cane out of the sand, thrusting the stick down in its stead.

  • Kirkwood poked his cane through the trap, repeating the address.

    The Black Bag

    Louis Joseph Vance

  • His cane alone would have told it long ago, if nothing else had.

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens

British Dictionary definitions for cane




  1. the long jointed pithy or hollow flexible stem of the bamboo, rattan, or any similar plant
  2. any plant having such a stem
  1. strips of such stems, woven or interlaced to make wickerwork, the seats and backs of chairs, etc
  2. (as modifier)a cane chair
the woody stem of a reed, young grapevine, blackberry, raspberry, or loganberry
any of several grasses with long stiff stems, esp Arundinaria gigantea of the southeastern US
a flexible rod with which to administer a beating as a punishment, as to schoolboys
a slender rod, usually wooden and often ornamental, used for support when walking; walking stick
a slender rod or cylinder, as of glass

verb (tr)

to whip or beat with or as if with a cane
to make or repair with cane
informal to defeatwe got well caned in the match
cane it slang to do something with great power, force, or speed or consume something such as alcohol in large quantitiesyou can do it in ten minutes if you really cane it
Derived Formscaner, noun

Word Origin for cane

C14: from Old French, from Latin canna, from Greek kanna, of Semitic origin; related to Arabic qanāh reed




dialect a female weasel

Word Origin for cane

C18: of unknown origin
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 cane

late 14c., from Old French cane "reed, cane, spear" (13c., Modern French canne), from Latin canna "reed, cane," from Greek kanna, perhaps from Assyrian qanu "tube, reed" (cf. Hebrew qaneh, Arabic qanah "reed"), from Sumerian gin "reed." But Tucker finds this borrowing "needless" and proposes a native Indo-European formation from a root meaning "to bind, bend." Sense of "walking stick" in English is 1580s.


"to beat with a walking stick," 1660s, from cane (n.). Related: Caned; caning.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper