/kæn / (say kan), weak form /kən / (say kuhn), if followed by k or g /kəŋ/ (say kuhng)

verb (modal)
1. to know how to: he can speak Chinese.
2. to be able to; have the strength, means, authority to: I can't reach the top shelf; can you help me?
3. to have permission to: you can go now; can I speak to you a moment?
4. (used with verbs of perception, etc.): I can hear music.
5. (referring to a possible event or situation): the desk can go here and the lamp can go there; we can have another meeting next week; you can go by bus or by train; you can't get blood from a stone.
6. to happen or be true on certain occasions or in certain instances: it can get lonely in the evenings; excessive thirst can be a symptom of diabetes.
7. (used in requests): can you help me with this?
8. (used in emphatic commands): you can mind your own business!; he can get rooted!
phrase Colloquial
9. can do, (an exclamation indicating that a request can be satisfactorily met.)
10. no can do, (an exclamation indicating that a request cannot be satisfactorily met.)
{Middle English and Old English cann, can, 1st and 3rd person singular present indicative (past cūthe) of cunnan know (how to). Compare ken and uncouth}
Usage: Some purists sharply distinguish the meanings of can from those of may. But these days may occurs much less frequently than can, with can taking over some of the senses that used to be claimed for may.
/kæn / (say kan)

1. a container, sometimes sealed, usually for a liquid and made of aluminium or sheet iron coated with tin or other metal.
2. a tin (def. 5).
3. the contents of a can.
4. a drinking vessel.
5. a rubbish bin (def. 1).
6. (plural) Colloquial a set of earphones.
7. US Colloquial a toilet.
8. US Colloquial the buttocks.
9. Navy a depth charge.
verb (t) (canned, canning)
a. to put in a container, usually sealed for preservation.
b. to withhold or suppress: to can the report.
11. Film to complete: to can the main scenes.
12. Colloquial to dismiss; fire.
13. Colloquial to criticise harshly: to can a performance
14. can it, Colloquial to be or become silent.
15. can of worms, Colloquial a situation, problem, etc., bristling with difficulties. {Phrase Origin: US (1960s); with reference to the opening of a container of worms such as used by fishermen}
16. carry the can, Colloquial to be held to account as the person responsible. {Phrase Origin: ? of military origin, referring to the person chosen to collect a container of beer for their group, and then take it back when empty}
17. in the can,
a. (of a film) ready for distribution; filmed, developed, and edited.
b. completed; made final.
18. kick the … can, to stir up a predictable reaction of fear and resentment in the community against a particular group ideology, usually to discredit a political opponent: to kick the communist can.
19. the can, Colloquial
a. jail.
b. the blame for something: to take the can.
c. dismissal.
{Middle English and Old English canne}

Australian English dictionary. 2014.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • Can — Can, v. t. & i. Note: [The transitive use is obsolete.] [imp. {Could}.] [OE. cunnen, cannen (1st sing. pres. I can), to know, know how, be able, AS. cunnan, 1st sing. pres. ic cann or can, pl. cunnon, 1st sing. imp. c[=u][eth]e (for cun[eth]e); p …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Can — Can, n. [OE. & AS. canne; akin to D. Kan, G. Kanne, OHG. channa, Sw. Kanna, Dan. kande.] 1. A drinking cup; a vessel for holding liquids. [Shak. ] [1913 Webster] Fill the cup and fill can, Have a rouse before the morn. Tennyson. [1913 Webster] 2 …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Can — may refer to:* Can (band) ** Can (album) * Tin can, an airtight metal container usually storing food * Beverage can * Joacim Cans, member of the band HammerFall * Buttocks, a body part * The act of canning, a process of preserving food * An… …   Wikipedia

  • CAN — may refer to:* CAN bus, the Controller Area Network bus, a broadcast shared serial bus for microcontrollers used mainly in the automotive applications;Organizations * The Andean Community of Nations * Campus Antiwar Network * Capital Alumni… …   Wikipedia

  • can-do — adj. having an eager willingness to accept and overcome challenges; as, a can do kind of person; the city s indomitable optimism and can do spirit. [slang] [WordNet 1.5] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Can — (k[a^]n), an obs. form of began, imp. & p. p. of {Begin}, sometimes used in old poetry. Note: [See {Gan}.] [1913 Webster] With gentle words he can faile gree. Spenser. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Can't — A colloquial contraction for can not. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Can — Can, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Canned}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Canning}.] To preserve by putting in sealed cans [U. S.] Canned meats W. D. Howells. [1913 Webster] {Canned goods}, a general name for fruit, vegetables, meat, or fish, preserved in hermetically …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • can — I. verb (past could; present singular & plural can) Etymology: Middle English (1st & 3d singular present indicative), from Old English; akin to Old High German kan (1st & 3d singular present indicative) know, am able, Old English cnāwan to know… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • can-do — adjective Date: 1945 characterized by eager willingness to accept and meet challenges < a can do attitude > • can do ism noun …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • can — May May (m[=a]), v. [imp. {Might} (m[imac]t)] [AS. pres. m[ae]g I am able, pret. meahte, mihte; akin to D. mogen, G. m[ o]gen, OHG. mugan, magan, Icel. mega, Goth. magan, Russ. moche. [root]103. Cf. {Dismay}, {Main} strength, {Might}. The old imp …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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