What does Can mean?

Definitions for Can
kæn; unstressed kəncan

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word Can.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. can, tin, tin cannoun

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

  2. can, canfulnoun

    the quantity contained in a can

  3. can, can buoynoun

    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, assnoun

    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, thronenoun

    a plumbing fixture for defecation and urination

  6. toilet, lavatory, lav, can, john, privy, bathroomverb

    a room or building equipped with one or more toilets

  7. can, tin, put upverb

    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, terminateverb

    terminate the employment of; discharge from an office or position

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

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Cannoun

    A cup; generally a cup made of metal, or some other matter than earth.

    Etymology: canne, Sax.

    I hate it as an unfill’d can. William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night.

    One tree, the coco, affordeth stuff for housing, cloathing, shipping, meat, drink, and can. Nehemiah Grew, Cosmologia Sacra.

    His empty can, with ears half worn away,
    Was hung on high, to boast the triumph of the day. Dryden.

  2. Canverb

    It is sometimes, though rarely, used alone; but is in constant use as an expression of the potential mood;

    Etymology: konnen, Dutch.

    In place there is licence to do good and evil, whereof the latter is a curse; for, in evil, the best condition is not to will; the second not to can. Francis Bacon, Essays, №. 11.

    O, there’s the wonder!
    Mecænas and Agrippa, who can most
    With Cæsar, are his foes. His wife Octavia,
    Driv’n from his house, sollicits her revenge,
    And Dolabella, who was once his friend. John Dryden, All for Love.

    He can away with no company, whose discourse goes beyond what claret and dissoluteness inspires. John Locke.

    If she can make me blest? She only can:
    Empire, and wealth, and all she brings beside,
    Are but the train and trappings of her love. Dryden.


  1. can

    The word "can" is a modal verb that is used to indicate the ability or capability of someone or something to do a specific action or task. It implies that the person or thing has the capacity, skill, or permission to accomplish or perform the mentioned action.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Can

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

  2. Cannoun

    a drinking cup; a vessel for holding liquids

  3. Cannoun

    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. Canverb

    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

  8. Etymology: [OE. & AS. canne; akin to D. Kan, G. Kanne, OHG. channa, Sw. Kanna, Dan. kande.]


  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.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Can

    kan, v.i. to be able: to have sufficient power:—pa.t. Could.—Can is used for gan in M. E. and even in Spenser. [A.S. cunnan, to know (how to do a thing), to be able, pres. indic. can; Goth. kunnan, Ger. können, to be able. See Know.]

  2. Can

    kan, n. a vessel for holding or carrying liquids, generally of tinned iron, with a handle over the top: a chimney-pot: a vessel of tin-plate in which meat, fruit, &c. are hermetically sealed for exporting—in England usually called a tin: a drinking-mug.—v.t. to put up for preservation in cans.—n.pl. Canned′-goods, meat, fruit, &c. so prepared for preservation.—n. Can′nery, a place where meat, fish, fruit, &c. are canned. [A.S. canne; cf. L. canna, a reed, Gr. kannē, a reed.]

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. can

    A tin vessel used by sailors to drink out of.

Editors Contribution

  1. can

    Be able.

    We can do easily what is vital, necessary and just.

    Submitted by MaryC on January 25, 2020  

Suggested Resources

  1. can

    Song lyrics by can -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by can on the Lyrics.com website.

  2. CAN

    What does CAN stand for? -- Explore the various meanings for the CAN acronym on the Abbreviations.com website.

  3. Can

    Can vs. May -- In this Grammar.com article you will learn the differences between the words Can and May.

Surnames Frequency by Census Records

  1. CAN

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Can is ranked #23750 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Can surname appeared 1,065 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 0 would have the surname Can.

    37.6% or 401 total occurrences were of Hispanic origin.
    34.1% or 364 total occurrences were White.
    21.9% or 234 total occurrences were Asian.
    3.1% or 33 total occurrences were Black.

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 for Can »

  1. ANC

  2. CNA

  3. NCA

How to pronounce Can?

How to say Can in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of Can in Chaldean Numerology is: 9

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of Can in Pythagorean Numerology is: 9

Examples of Can in a Sentence

  1. Representatives Speaker John Boehner:

    The fact is that the president needs her help in order to get Democrat votes in the House and Senate to get this passed, we've got the majority here in the House and the Senate, but we can't do this by ourselves.

  2. Gretta Monahan:

    Don't do anything with the idea that you're trying to look younger—that can cause big missteps in your sense of style and how you maintain your beauty routine.

  3. Chris Mancini:

    It seems to me like Barrick Gold Corp is open to doing deals now with anyone that can help enhance value.

  4. Joel Montalbano:

    Each of the partners have different capabilities that they bring, and together we work, it's not a process where one group can separate from the other. We need everything together in order to be successful.

  5. Riley Moore:

    We will vigorously defend our implementation of this Program, which the people of West Virginia have clearly demonstrated they want, so that West Virginia families can choose the educational opportunities best suited for their children.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for Can

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • poderAragonese
  • استطاع, ممكن, اِسْتَطاعَ, قَدَرَArabic
  • ўмець, сумець, магчы, змагчыBelarusian
  • тоалетна чиния, консервна кутия, гюм, умея, мога, уволнявам, захвърлям, консервирамBulgarian
  • llauna, poder, enllaunarCatalan, Valencian
  • plechovka, konev, konzerva, smět, umět, moci, konzervovatCzech
  • can, medru, gallu, caelWelsh
  • balder, kande, toilet, dåse, vandkande, kunne, må, konservere, holde mund, fyre, afskedige, smide ud, henkogeDanish
  • Dose, Pobacken, Kanister, Toilette, Arschbacken, Konservendose, Gießkanne, WC, Klo, können, dürfen, kündigen, einmachen, den Mund halten, die Klappe halten, rausschmeißen, abbrechen, feuernGerman
  • κονσέρβα, μπορώ, δύναμαι, κονσερβοποιώGreek
  • ladskatolo, necesejo, pugo, pispoto, rajti, povi, silenti, silentigi, enladigi, maldungiEsperanto
  • regadera, lata, poder, enlatar, echar, cerrar, descartarSpanish
  • võima, osataEstonian
  • قوطی, توانستن, امکان داشتن, قادر بودنPersian
  • säilyketölkki, kastelukannu, takamus, purkki, vessa, voida, saada, osata, pystyä, purkittaaFinnish
  • fesses, chiottes, canette, arrosoir, miches, WC, bidon, boîte de conserve, boule, pouvoir, taire, jeter, conserverFrench
  • in ann, is féidir le, bí, féad, tig leIrish
  • cana, faod, 's urrainn doScottish Gaelic
  • jargManx
  • בית שימוש, שירותים, קופסת שימורים, יכול, מסוגל, סתם, פיטרHebrew
  • सकना, समर्थ होनाHindi
  • kab, kapab, kaHaitian Creole
  • konzerv, kanna, doboz, klotyó, -hat, tud, -hetHungarian
  • կարողանալ, կրնալArmenian
  • kaleng, bisa, bolehIndonesian
  • dós, geta, megaIcelandic
  • lattina, latrina, cesso, scatoletta, annaffiatoio, chiappe, sapere, potere, essere capace, riuscire, inscatolare, licenziare, chiudere, scartare, tacereItalian
  • 缶, られる, れる, できるJapanese
  • შეუძლია, შეიძლებაGeorgian
  • 할 수 있다Korean
  • ته‌نه‌که‌, قوتوKurdish
  • scio, possum, posse, simLatin
  • Dous, Biddong, Béchs, Géisskan, däerfen, kënnen, duerfen, dierfenLuxembourgish, Letzeburgesch
  • ໄດ້Lao
  • kēna, tini, kēneMāori
  • конзерва, кофа, лименка, канта, може, отпушта, конзервираMacedonian
  • tandas, tin, bisa, boleh, dapat, pecat, mengetinkanMalay
  • forsi, sataMaltese
  • conservenblik, toilet, blik, kan, pot, mogen, kunnen, afvoeren, conserveren, stil houden, inblikkenDutch
  • kanne, do, toalett, boks, rompe, hermetikkboks, bak, kunneNorwegian
  • yadiizíníNavajo, Navaho
  • podre, pòderOccitan
  • ubikacja, konewka, kanister, klop, puszka, dupa, polewaczka, kanka, sracz, kibel, pośladki, móc, potrafić, umieć, konserwować, wylać (z pracy)Polish
  • bunda, lata, vaso, regador, traseiro, conseguir, capaz, poder, ser, calar, jogar fora, enlatar, mandar embora, descartar, demitirPortuguese
  • puder, pudair, pudeirRomansh
  • puteaRomanian
  • консервная банка, жопа, бидон, туалет, задница, попа, лейка, ягодицы, жбан, быть в состоянии, уметь, смочь, мочь, законсервировать, консервироватьRussian
  • podi, porrere, podere, potere, pori, podiriSardinian
  • клоња, moći, умјети, smjeti, umjeti, моћи, умети, umetiSerbo-Croatian
  • môcť, umětSlovak
  • konzerva, pločevinka, škropilnica, smeti, moči, zavreči, odvreči, konzervirati, odpustiti, utihnitiSlovene
  • burk, konservburk, konserv, kanna, vattenkanna, kunna, knipa igen, stänga igen, lägga in, sparka, konservera, kickaSwedish
  • கன்னல், செய்யக்கூடியTamil
  • กระป๋อง, ก้น, กระป๋องรดน้ำ, ส้วม, ได้, ย่อม, สามารถ, ทิ้ง, เย็บปาก, ปลดThai
  • kutu, konserve, -abilmek, -ebilmek, yapabilmekTurkish
  • могти, вміти, змогти, зуміти, умітиUkrainian
  • سکناUrdu
  • lon, có thể, có lẽ, đượcVietnamese
  • poleurWalloon
  • 能够Chinese

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    a male servant (especially a footman)
    • A. flunkey
    • B. nidus
    • C. meerschaum
    • D. fervidness

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