/kan/; unstressed /keuhn/, auxiliary v. and v., pres. sing. 1st pers. can, 2nd can or (Archaic) canst, 3rd can, pres. pl. can; past sing. 1st pers. could, 2nd could or (Archaic) couldst, 3rd could, past pl. could. For auxiliary v.: imperative, infinitive, and participles lacking. For v. (Obs.): imperative can; infinitive can; past part. could; pres. part. cunning.
1. to be able to; have the ability, power, or skill to: She can solve the problem easily, I'm sure.
2. to know how to: He can play chess, although he's not particularly good at it.
3. to have the power or means to: A dictator can impose his will on the people.
4. to have the right or qualifications to: He can change whatever he wishes in the script.
5. may; have permission to: Can I speak to you for a moment?
6. to have the possibility: A coin can land on either side.
v.t., v.i.
7. Obs. to know.
[bef. 900; ME, OE, pres. ind. sing. 1st, 3rd person of cunnan to know, know how; c. G, ON, Goth kann; see KEN, KNOW]
Usage. CAN1 and MAY1 are frequently but not always interchangeable in senses indicating possibility: A power failure can (or may) occur at any time. Despite the insistence by some, that CAN means only "to be able" and MAY means "to be permitted," both are regularly used in seeking or granting permission: Can (or May) I borrow your tape recorder? You can (or may) use it tomorrow.
Sentences using CAN occur chiefly in spoken English. MAY in this sense occurs more frequently in formal contexts: May I address the court, Your Honor? In negative constructions, CAN'T or CANNOT is more common than MAY NOT: You can't have it today. I need it myself. The contraction MAYN'T is rare.
CAN BUT and CANNOT BUT are formal and now somewhat old-fashioned expressions suggesting that there is no possible alternative to doing something. CAN BUT is equivalent to CAN ONLY: We can but do our best. CANNOT BUT is the equivalent of CANNOT HELP BUT: We cannot but protest against these injustices. See also cannot, help.
/kan/, n., v., canned, canning.
1. a sealed container for food, beverages, etc., as of aluminum, sheet iron coated with tin, or other metal: a can of soup.
2. a receptacle for garbage, ashes, etc.: a trash can.
3. a bucket, pail, or other container for holding or carrying liquids: water can.
4. a drinking cup; tankard.
5. a metal or plastic container for holding film on cores or reels.
6. Slang. (usually vulgar). toilet; bathroom.
7. Slang. jail: He's been in the can for a week.
8. Slang. (sometimes vulgar). buttocks.
9. Mil. Slang.
a. a depth charge.
b. a destroyer.
10. carry the can, Brit. and Canadian Slang. to take the responsibility.
11. in the can, recorded on film; completed: The movie is in the can and ready for release.
12. to preserve by sealing in a can, jar, etc.
13. Slang. to dismiss; fire.
14. Slang. to throw (something) away.
15. Slang. to put a stop to: Can that noise!
16. to record, as on film or tape.
[bef. 1000; ME, OE canne, c. G Kanne, ON kanna, all perh. < WGmc; cf. LL canna small vessel]

* * *

Universalium. 2010.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • Can — Can, v. t. & i. Note: [The transitive use is obsolete.] [imp. {Could}.] [OE. cunnen, cannen (1st sing. pres. I can), to know, know how, be able, AS. cunnan, 1st sing. pres. ic cann or can, pl. cunnon, 1st sing. imp. c[=u][eth]e (for cun[eth]e); p …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • CAN — bezeichnet: einen meist männlichen Vornamen, siehe Can (Vorname) den alternativen Titel des deutschen Fernsehfilms „Wut“ von Züli Aladag, siehe Wut (Fernsehfilm) eine deutsche Rockband, siehe Can (Band) im Graffiti die Sprühdose (englisch für:… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • can — noun. Can is the word generally used in BrE for the container when the contents are liquid (a can of beer / a can of soup). When the contents are solid, tin is more usual (a tin of beans / a tin of peaches) but can is used for this too in AmE.… …   Modern English usage

  • CaN — bezeichnet: den männlichen Vornamen türkischen Ursprungs, siehe Can (Vorname) den alternativen Titel des deutschen Fernsehfilms Wut von Züli Aladag, siehe Wut (Fernsehfilm) die deutsche Rockband, siehe Can (Band) im Graffiti die Sprühdose… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Can. — bezeichnet: den männlichen Vornamen türkischen Ursprungs, siehe Can (Vorname) den alternativen Titel des deutschen Fernsehfilms Wut von Züli Aladag, siehe Wut (Fernsehfilm) die deutsche Rockband, siehe Can (Band) im Graffiti die Sprühdose… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Can-Am — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Can Am es una empresa canadiense fabricante de motocicletas, subsidiaria de Bombardier Recreational Products, una empresa multinacional también de origen canadiense. Origen y desarrollo La empresa se originó en 1973 …   Wikipedia Español

  • can — can1 [kan; , kən] v.aux. pt.could [ME < OE, 1st & 3d pers. sing., pres. indic., of cunnan, know, have power to, be able; common Gmc < IE base * gen , *gno > L gnoscere, KNOW; orig. meaning “to be able mentally or spiritually,” as… …   English World dictionary

  • can — Ⅰ. can [1] ► MODAL VERB (3rd sing. present can; past could) 1) be able to. 2) used to express doubt or surprise: he can t have finished. 3) used to indicate that something is typically the case: he could be very moody. 4) be permit …   English terms dictionary

  • Can — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. {{{image}}}   Sigles d une seule lettre   Sigles de deux lettres > Sigles de trois lettres …   Wikipédia en Français

  • can — vb Can, may are often confused in use. In its commonest sense can expresses ability, whether physical or mental {he can climb this pole} {he is only four, but he can read} {he will do it if he possibly can} {when Duty whispers low, thou must, the …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • can — cañ interj. cin (skardžiam suskambėjimui reikšti): Klausau tik cañ cañ su žvaguliais ir nuskambėjo tolyn Ds. Cañ cañ cañ – skambina pietų Gs. Tik cañ – ir iškrito (sudužo) langas Gs. Su nagu užkabinsi už dalgės – tik cañ (suskamba)! Jnšk …   Dictionary of the Lithuanian Language

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.