can: Meaning and Definition of


Pronunciation: (kanunstressedk&schwan), [key]
— auxiliary v. v., pres. sing. 1st pers. 2nd 3rd pres. pl. past sing. 1st pers. 2nd 3rd past pl. can, can canst, can, can could, could couldst, could, could. can can could cun•ning.
—auxiliary v.
  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.
  1. to know.


Pronunciation: (kan), [key]
— n., v., canned, can•ning.
  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. . toilet; bathroom.
  7. jail: He's been in the can for a week.
  8. . buttocks.
    1. a depth charge.
    2. a destroyer.
  9. and Canadian Slang. to take the responsibility.
  10. recorded on film; completed: The movie is in the can and ready for release.
  1. to preserve by sealing in a can, jar, etc.
  2. to dismiss; fire.
  3. to throw (something) away.
  4. to put a stop to: Can that noise!
  5. to record, as on film or tape.


Pronunciation: [key]
  1. Canada.
  2. Canadian.


Pronunciation: [key]
  1. canceled.
  2. canon.
  3. canto.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
See also:
  • can (Thesaurus)