[kan-ter, -tawr]


the religious official of a synagogue who conducts the liturgical portion of a service and sings or chants the prayers and parts of prayers designed to be performed as solos.
an official whose duty is to lead the singing in a cathedral or in a collegiate or parish church; a precentor.

Origin of cantor

1530–40; < Latin: singer, equivalent to can(ere) to sing + -tor -tor
Can be confusedcanter cantor


[kan-ter; for 2 also German kahn-tawr]


EddieEdward Israel Iskovitz, 1892–1964, U.S. singer and entertainer.
Ge·org [gey-awrk] /geɪˈɔrk/, 1845–1918, German mathematician, born in Russia. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for cantor

Contemporary Examples of cantor

Historical Examples of cantor

  • "You hear what young Mr Cantor has said," continued the lawyer.

    Cousin Henry

    Anthony Trollope

  • "Joe, ye shall be made to sit out in the kitchen; ye shall," said Cantor the father.

    Cousin Henry

    Anthony Trollope

  • "I know'd it," said young Cantor, clenching his fist almost in her face.

    Cousin Henry

    Anthony Trollope

  • "I'll swear that's one of my pupils, he is so pugnacious," thought the cantor to himself.

    The Day of Wrath

    Maurus Jkai

  • We went up the river as far as Cantor (some five hundred miles).

    A Book of Discovery

    Margaret Bertha (M. B.) Synge

British Dictionary definitions for cantor



Also called: chazan Judaism a man employed to lead synagogue services, esp to traditional modes and melodies
Christianity the leader of the singing in a church choir

Word Origin for cantor

C16: from Latin: singer, 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 cantor

1530s, "church song-leader," from Latin cantor "singer, poet, actor," agent noun from past participle stem of canere "to sing" (see chant (v.)). Applied in English to the Hebrew chazan from 1893.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper