cant

1
[ kant ]
/ kænt /
||

noun

insincere, especially conventional expressions of enthusiasm for high ideals, goodness, or piety.
the private language of the underworld.
the phraseology peculiar to a particular class, party, profession, etc.: the cant of the fashion industry.
whining or singsong speech, especially of beggars.

verb (used without object)

to talk hypocritically.
to speak in the whining or singsong tone of a beggar; beg.

Origin of cant

1
1495–1505; < Latin base cant- in cantus song, canticus singsong, etc., whence Old English cantere singer, cantic song; see chant

SYNONYMS FOR cant

Related forms

cant·ing·ly, adverb

Can be confused

cant can't Kantcant jargon1 slang1

Definition for cants (2 of 2)

Origin of cant

2
1325–75; Middle English: side, border < Anglo-French cant, Old French chant < a Romance base *cantu(m) with the related senses “rim, border” and “angle corner,” probably < Celtic; compare Latin cant(h)us iron tire (< Celtic), Welsh cant periphery, rim, felloe; probably not akin to Greek kanthós corner of the eye; cf. canteen, cantle, canton

Related forms

cant·ic, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for cants

British Dictionary definitions for cants (1 of 3)

cant

1
/ (kænt) /

noun

insincere talk, esp concerning religion or morals; pious platitudes
stock phrases that have become meaningless through repetition
specialized vocabulary of a particular group, such as thieves, journalists, or lawyers; jargon
singsong whining speech, as used by beggars

verb

(intr) to speak in or use cant

Derived Forms

canter, nouncantingly, adverb

Word Origin for cant

C16: probably via Norman French canter to sing, from Latin cantāre; used disparagingly, from the 12th century, of chanting in religious services

British Dictionary definitions for cants (2 of 3)

cant

2
/ (kænt) /

noun


verb (tr)

adjective

oblique; slanting
having flat surfaces and without curves

Derived Forms

cantic, adjective

Word Origin for cant

C14 (in the sense: edge, corner): perhaps from Latin canthus iron hoop round a wheel, of obscure origin

British Dictionary definitions for cants (3 of 3)

cant

3
/ (kɑːnt) /

adjective

Scot and Northern English dialect lusty; merry; hearty

Word Origin for cant

C14: related to Low German kant bold, merry
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