Dictionary.com

cannot

[ kan-ot, ka-not, kuh- ]
/ ˈkæn ɒt, kæˈnɒt, kə- /
Save This Word!

verb
a form of can not.

COMPARE MEANINGS

Click for a side-by-side comparison of meanings. Use the word comparison feature to learn the differences between similar and commonly confused words.
QUIZ
GOOSES. GEESES. I WANT THIS QUIZ ON PLURAL NOUNS!
Test how much you really know about regular and irregular plural nouns with this quiz.
Question 1 of 9
Which of the following nouns has an irregular plural form?

Idioms about cannot

    cannot but, have no alternative but to: We cannot but choose otherwise.

Origin of cannot

A Middle English word dating back to 1350–1400

usage note for cannot

Cannot is sometimes also spelled can not. The one-word spelling is by far the more common: Interest rates simply cannot continue at their present level. The contraction can't is most common in speech and informal writing.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use cannot in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for cannot

cannot
/ (ˈkænɒt, kæˈnɒt) /

verb
an auxiliary verb expressing incapacity, inability, withholding permission, etc; can not
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

Other Idioms and Phrases with cannot

cannot

see under can't.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
FEEDBACK