[ kan-toh ]
/ ˈkæn toʊ /

noun, plural can·tos.

one of the main or larger divisions of a long poem.

Origin of canto

1580–90; < Italian < Latin cant(us) singing, song, equivalent to can(ere) to sing + -tus suffix of v. action; cf. cant1, chant Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for canto

British Dictionary definitions for canto


/ (ˈkæntəʊ) /

noun plural -tos

music another word for cantus (def. 2)
a main division of a long poem

Word Origin for canto

C16: from Italian: song, from Latin cantus, from canere to sing
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 canto



1580s, from Italian canto "song," from Latin cantus "song" (see chant (v.)). As "a section of a long poem," used in Italian by Dante, in English first by Spenser.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper