Definitions for CANkæn; unstressed kən

This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word CAN

Random House Webster's College Dictionary

can*kæn; unstressed kən

  1. (auxiliary verb.)to be able to; have the ability, power, or skill to:

    She can solve the problem easily.

    Category: Function Word

  2. to know how to:

    I can play chess, but not very well.

    Category: Function Word

  3. to have the power or means to:

    a dictator who can impose his will on the people.

    Category: Function Word

  4. to have the right or qualifications to:

    He can change whatever he wishes in the script.

    Category: Function Word

  5. may; have permission to:

    Can I speak to you for a moment?

    Category: Function Word

  6. to have the possibility:

    A coin can land on either side.

    Category: Function Word

  7. (v.i.)Obs. to know.

    Category: Function Word

Idioms for can:

  1. can but,to be able to do nothing else except; can only:

    We can but try.

    Category: Idiom

* Usage: can and may are often interchangeable in the sense of possibility: A power failure can (or may) occur at any time. Despite the traditional insistence that only may conveys permission, both words are regularly used in this sense: Can (or May) I borrow your tape recorder?can occurs this way chiefly in spoken English; may occurs more frequently in formal speech and writing. In negative constructions, can't or cannot is more common than may not ; the contraction mayn't is rare: You can't park in the driveway.canbut and cannotbut are somewhat formal expressions suggesting that there is no alternative to doing something. See also cannot,help.

Origin of can:

bef. 900; ME, OE, pres. indic. sing. 1st, 3rd person of cunnan to know, know how

cankæn(n.; v.)canned, can•ning.

  1. (n.)a sealed container for food, beverages, etc., as of aluminum, sheet iron coated with tin, or other metal.

  2. a receptacle for garbage, ashes, etc.

  3. a bucket or other container for holding or carrying liquids.

  4. a metal or plastic container for holding film on cores or reels.

    Category: Motion Pictures, Showbiz

  5. Slang: Sometimes Vulgar. toilet; bathroom.

    Category: Status (usage)

  6. Slang. jail.

    Category: Status (usage)

  7. Slang: Sometimes Vulgar. buttocks.

    Category: Status (usage)

  8. Mil. Slang. a depth charge. a destroyer.

    Category: Military

  9. (v.t.)to preserve by sealing in a can, jar, etc.

  10. Slang. to dismiss; fire.

    Category: Status (usage)

  11. Slang. to put a stop to:

    Can that noise!

    Category: Status (usage)

  12. to record, as on film or tape.

    Category: Common Vocabulary, Showbiz

Idioms for can:

  1. in the can,(of a commercial film, scene, etc.) completed.

    Category: Idiom, Motion Pictures, Showbiz

Origin of can:

bef. 1000; ME, OE canne, c. OHG channa, ON kanna


  1. Canada.

    Category: Geography (places)

  2. Canadian.

    Category: Geography (places), Peoples


  1. canceled.

  2. canon.

  3. canto.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. can, tin, tin can(noun)

    airtight sealed metal container for food or drink or paint etc.

  2. can, canful(noun)

    the quantity contained in a can

  3. can, can buoy(noun)

    a buoy with a round bottom and conical top

  4. buttocks, nates, arse, butt, backside, bum, buns, can, fundament, hindquarters, hind end, keister, posterior, prat, rear, rear end, rump, stern, seat, tail, tail end, tooshie, tush, bottom, behind, derriere, fanny, ass(noun)

    the fleshy part of the human body that you sit on

    "he deserves a good kick in the butt"; "are you going to sit on your fanny and do nothing?"

  5. toilet, can, commode, crapper, pot, potty, stool, throne(noun)

    a plumbing fixture for defecation and urination

  6. toilet, lavatory, lav, can, john, privy, bathroom(verb)

    a room or building equipped with one or more toilets

  7. can, tin, put up(verb)

    preserve in a can or tin

    "tinned foods are not very tasty"

  8. displace, fire, give notice, can, dismiss, give the axe, send away, sack, force out, give the sack, terminate(verb)

    terminate the employment of; discharge from an office or position

    "The boss fired his secretary today"; "The company terminated 25% of its workers"

Kernerman English Learner's Dictionary

  1. canæn

    used to say sth is possible

    I can get there by 2:00.; Grandma can't walk very well; She couldn't get it open.; The email cannot be delivered to this address.

  2. canæn

    indicates that sb knows how to do sth

    - can speak French.; Can you operate the machine?

  3. canæn

    indicates what is allowed

    You can play my video game.; Young children cannot see the movie without a parent.

  4. canæn

    used to ask or offer sth

    Can I try?; Can I carry that for you?; I can give you a ride home.

  5. canæn

    indicates what sb or sth is often like

    He can get very grumpy.; Meeting people here can be hard.

  6. canæn

    used with the verbs "see," "hear," "smell," "taste," and "feel" and with verbs that mean "think"

    I could smell the bread baking.; You can see the mountains from here.; I can understand why you're angry.

  7. canæn

    indicates surprise, anger, or disbelief

    You can't tell me this now!; This can't be the right house.

  8. can(noun)æn

    a cylindrical metal container for food or liquid

    a can of soup; paint cans

  9. canæn

    the amount of food or liquid a can holds

    Add one can of black beans.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Can

    an obs. form of began, imp. & p. p. of Begin, sometimes used in old poetry. [See Gan.]

  2. Can(noun)

    a drinking cup; a vessel for holding liquids

  3. Can(noun)

    a vessel or case of tinned iron or of sheet metal, of various forms, but usually cylindrical; as, a can of tomatoes; an oil can; a milk can

  4. Can(verb)

    to preserve by putting in sealed cans

  5. Can

    to know; to understand

  6. Can

    to be able to do; to have power or influence

  7. Can

    to be able; -- followed by an infinitive without to; as, I can go, but do not wish to


  1. CAN

    Can was a German experimental rock band formed in Cologne, West Germany in 1968. Later labeled as one of the first krautrock groups, they transcended mainstream influences and incorporated strong minimalist and world music elements into their often psychedelic music. Can constructed their music largely through collective spontaneous composition—which the band differentiated from improvisation in the jazz sense—sampling themselves in the studio and editing down the results; bassist/chief engineer Holger Czukay referred to Can's live and studio performances as "instant compositions". They had occasional commercial success, with singles such as "Spoon" and "I Want More" reaching national singles charts. Through albums such as Monster Movie, Tago Mago, Ege Bamyasi and Future Days, the band exerted a considerable influence on avant-garde, experimental, underground, ambient, new wave and electronic music.

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'CAN' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #48

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'CAN' in Written Corpus Frequency: #50

  3. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'CAN' in Nouns Frequency: #2360

  4. Verbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'CAN' in Verbs Frequency: #7

Anagrams of CAN

  1. NCA

  2. ANC

  3. CNA

Translations for CAN

Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary


to be able to

You can do it if you try hard.

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