from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Angular deviation from a vertical or horizontal plane or surface; an inclination or slope.
  • noun A slanted or oblique surface.
  • noun A thrust or motion that tilts something.
  • noun The tilt caused by such a thrust or motion.
  • noun An outer corner, as of a building.
  • intransitive verb To set at an oblique angle; tilt.
  • intransitive verb To give a slanting edge to; bevel.
  • intransitive verb To change the direction of suddenly.
  • intransitive verb To lean to one side; slant.
  • intransitive verb To take an oblique direction or course; swing around, as a ship.
  • noun Tedious or hackneyed language, especially when used sanctimoniously.
  • noun The special vocabulary peculiar to the members of an underworld group; argot.
  • noun The special vocabulary of a profession, discipline, or social group; jargon.
  • noun Whining or singsong speech, such as that used by beggars.
  • intransitive verb To speak tediously or sanctimoniously.
  • intransitive verb To speak in argot or jargon.
  • intransitive verb To speak in a whining or singsong voice.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To put or set at an angle; tilt or move from a horizontal line: as, to cant or cant up a plank; to cant over a pail or cask.
  • Nautical, to turn (something) so that it is no longer fair and square; give (a ship) an inclination to one side, as in preparing her to be careened.
  • To set upon edge, as a stone.
  • To throw with a sudden jerk; toss: as, to cant a ball.
  • To cut off an angle of, as of a square piece of timber.
  • To tilt or incline; have a slant.
  • To speak with a whining voice or in an affected or assumed tone; assume a particular tone and manner of speaking for the purpose of exciting compassion, as in begging; hence, to beg.
  • To make pharisaical, hypocritical, or whining pretensions to goodness; affect piety without sincerity; sham holiness.
  • To talk in a, certain special jargon; use the words and phraseology peculiar to a particular sect, party, profession, and the like.
  • To use as a conventional phraseology or jargon.
  • noun Something given in charity.
  • noun A corner; an angle; a niche.
  • noun The corner of a field.
  • noun An external or salient angle: as, a six-canted bolt, that is, one of six cants, or of which the head has six angles.
  • noun One of the segments forming a side piece in the head of a cask.
  • noun A ship's timber, near the bow or stern, lying obliquely to the line of the keel.
  • noun A piece of wood which supports the bulkheads on a vessel's deck.
  • noun A log that has received two side cuts in a sawmill and is ready for the next cut.
  • noun An inclination from a horizontal line; a sloping, slanting, or tilted position.
  • noun A toss, thrust, or push with a sudden jerk: as, to give a ball a cant.
  • noun In whale-fishing, a cut in a whale between the neck and fins.
  • noun An auction; sale by auction. Grose.
  • Bold; strong; hearty; lusty. Now usually canty (which see).
  • To sell by auction.
  • To enhance or increase, as by competitive bidding at an auction.
  • To recover or mend; grow strong.
  • noun An oblique line which cuts off a corner of a rectangle; an oblique side of a polygon; an oblique plane which cuts off the corner of a cuboid; an oblique face of a crystal; a slanting face of a bank.
  • noun A sudden movement, as on board ship, resulting in a tilting up.
  • noun One of the pieces which form the ends of the buckets on a water-wheel.
  • noun A whining or singing manner of speech; specifically, the whining speech of beggars, as in asking alms.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, side, from Old North French, from Vulgar Latin *cantus, corner, from Latin canthus, rim of wheel, tire, of Celtic origin.]

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Anglo-Norman cant, song, singing, from canter, to sing, from Latin cantāre; see kan- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin cantō probably via Old Northern French canter ("sing, tell"), cognate with chant.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English, presumably from Middle Low German *kant


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  • "Never fear me. I think I have got the true bar cant—Did your honour call?—Attend the Lion there—Pipes and tobacco for the Angel.—The Lamb has been outrageous this half hour."

    Goldsmith, She Stoops, III

    January 11, 2007

  • A continual cascade played at the bows; a ceaseless whirling eddy in her wake; and, at the slightest motion from within, even but of a little finger, the vibrating, cracking craft canted over her spasmodic gunwale into the sea.

    - Melville, Moby-Dick, ch. 61

    July 26, 2008

  • Don't cant to me!

    April 11, 2009

  • Cant

    A haiku by the Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

    A sudden movement,

    as on board ship, resulting

    in a tilting up.

    May 12, 2012

  • recant - sungover?

    May 12, 2012

  • to be set 'on edge' (attuned ,if you will) as any good story or song will do.

    December 9, 2016