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

  • n. Angular deviation from a vertical or horizontal plane or surface; an inclination or slope.
  • n. A slanted or oblique surface.
  • n. A thrust or motion that tilts something.
  • n. The tilt caused by such a thrust or motion.
  • n. An outer corner, as of a building.
  • transitive v. To set at an oblique angle; tilt.
  • transitive v. To give a slanting edge to; bevel.
  • transitive v. To change the direction of suddenly.
  • intransitive v. To lean to one side; slant.
  • intransitive v. To take an oblique direction or course; swing around, as a ship.
  • n. Monotonous talk filled with platitudes.
  • n. Hypocritically pious language.
  • n. The special vocabulary peculiar to the members of an underworld group; argot.
  • n. See Shelta.
  • n. Whining speech, such as that used by beggars.
  • n. The special terminology understood among the members of a profession, discipline, or class but obscure to the general population; jargon. See Synonyms at dialect.
  • intransitive v. To speak tediously or sententiously; moralize.
  • intransitive v. To speak in argot or jargon.
  • intransitive v. To speak in a whining, pleading tone.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. lively, lusty.
  • n. An argot, the jargon of a particular class or subgroup.
  • n. A private or secret language used by a religious sect, gang, or other group.
  • n. Shelta.
  • n. Empty, hypocritical talk.
  • n. Whining speech, such as that used by beggars.
  • n. A blazon of a coat of arms that makes a pun upon the name of the bearer, canting arms.
  • v. To speak with the jargon of a class or subgroup.
  • v. To speak in set phrases.
  • v. To preach in a singsong fashion, especially in a false or empty manner.
  • v. Of a blazon, to make a pun that references the bearer of a coat of arms.
  • v. To sell by auction, or bid at an auction.
  • n. corner, niche
  • n. slope, the angle at which something is set.
  • n. A movement or throw that overturns something.
  • v. To set (something) at an angle.
  • v. To bevel an edge or corner.
  • v. To overturn so that the contents are emptied.
  • v. To divide or parcel out.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Of the nature of cant; affected; vulgar.
  • n. A corner; angle; niche.
  • n. An outer or external angle.
  • n. An inclination from a horizontal or vertical line; a slope or bevel; a titl.
  • n. A sudden thrust, push, kick, or other impulse, producing a bias or change of direction; also, the bias or turn so give.
  • n. A segment forming a side piece in the head of a cask.
  • n. A segment of he rim of a wooden cogwheel.
  • n. A piece of wood laid upon the deck of a vessel to support the bulkheads.
  • n. An affected, singsong mode of speaking.
  • n. The idioms and peculiarities of speech in any sect, class, or occupation.
  • n. The use of religious phraseology without understanding or sincerity; empty, solemn speech, implying what is not felt; hypocrisy.
  • n. Vulgar jargon; slang; the secret language spoker by gipsies, thieves, tramps, or beggars.
  • n. A call for bidders at a public sale; an auction.
  • intransitive v. To speak in a whining voice, or an affected, singsong tone.
  • intransitive v. To make whining pretensions to goodness; to talk with an affectation of religion, philanthropy, etc.; to practice hypocrisy.
  • intransitive v. To use pretentious language, barbarous jargon, or technical terms; to talk with an affectation of learning.
  • transitive v. To incline; to set at an angle; to tilt over; to tip upon the edge.
  • transitive v. To give a sudden turn or new direction to.
  • transitive v. To cut off an angle from, as from a square piece of timber, or from the head of a bolt.
  • transitive v. to sell by auction, or bid a price at a sale by auction.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • 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.
  • n. A whining or singing manner of speech; specifically, the whining speech of beggars, as in asking alms.
  • n. The language or jargon spoken by gipsies, thieves, professional beggars, or the like, and containing many words different from ordinary English; a kind of slang or argot.
  • n. The words and phrases peculiar to or characteristic of a sect, party, or profession; the dialect of a class, sect, or set of people: used in an unfavorable sense.
  • n. A pretentious or insincere assumption, in speech, of a religious character; an ostentatious or insincere use of solemn or religious phraseology.
  • n. Hence Any insincerity or conventionality in speech, especially insincere assumption or conventional pretense of enthusiasm for high thoughts or aims.
  • n. Synonyms and Cant, Slang, Colloquialism. Cant belongs to a class; slang to no one class, except where it is specified: as, college slang; parliamentary slang. Slang is generally over-vivid in metaphor and threadbare from use, and is often vulgar or ungrammatical; cant may be correct, but unintelligible to those outside of the class concerned. Cant has also the meaning of insincere or conventional use of religious or other set phrases, as above. A colloquialism is simply an expression that belongs to common conversation, but Is considered too homely for refined speech or for writing.
  • Of the nature of cant or jargon.
  • To sell by auction.
  • To enhance or increase, as by competitive bidding at an auction.
  • Bold; strong; hearty; lusty. Now usually canty (which see).
  • To recover or mend; grow strong.
  • n. A corner; an angle; a niche.
  • n. The corner of a field.
  • n. An external or salient angle: as, a six-canted bolt, that is, one of six cants, or of which the head has six angles.
  • n. One of the segments forming a side piece in the head of a cask.
  • n. A ship's timber, near the bow or stern, lying obliquely to the line of the keel.
  • n. A piece of wood which supports the bulkheads on a vessel's deck.
  • n. A log that has received two side cuts in a sawmill and is ready for the next cut.
  • n. An inclination from a horizontal line; a sloping, slanting, or tilted position.
  • n. A toss, thrust, or push with a sudden jerk: as, to give a ball a cant.
  • n. In whale-fishing, a cut in a whale between the neck and fins.
  • n. Something given in charity.
  • n. An auction; sale by auction. Grose.
  • n. 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.
  • n. A sudden movement, as on board ship, resulting in a tilting up.
  • n. One of the pieces which form the ends of the buckets on a water-wheel.
  • n. A canting person.
  • n. A portion, share, or division; a parcel or bundle: as, a cant of hay; a cant of growing grain assigned to a reaper.
  • n. In civil law, a method of partitioning property the title to which is vested in two or more parties in common.
  • n. An abbreviation of Canticles.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. two surfaces meeting at an angle different from 90 degrees
  • n. stock phrases that have become nonsense through endless repetition
  • n. a slope in the turn of a road or track; the outside is higher than the inside in order to reduce the effects of centrifugal force
  • n. insincere talk about religion or morals
  • n. a characteristic language of a particular group (as among thieves)
  • v. heel over


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

    December 9, 2016

  • recant - sungover?

    May 12, 2012

  • Cant

    A haiku by the Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

    A sudden movement,

    as on board ship, resulting

    in a tilting up.

    May 12, 2012

  • Don't cant to me!

    April 11, 2009

  • 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

  • "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