2nd person singular present of can1 .
to be able to; have the ability, power, or skill to:
She can solve the problem easily, I’m sure.
to know how to:
He can play chess, although he’s not particularly good at it.
to have the power or means to:
A dictator can impose his will on the people.
to have the right or qualifications to:
He can change whatever he wishes in the script.
may; have permission to:
Can I speak to you for a moment?
to have the possibility:
A coin can land on either side.
Obsolete. to know.
a sealed container for food, beverages, etc., as of aluminum, sheet iron coated with tin, or other metal:
a can of soup.
a receptacle for garbage, ashes, etc.:
a trash can.
a bucket, pail, or other container for holding or carrying liquids:
water can.
a drinking cup; tankard.
a metal or plastic container for holding film on cores or reels.
Slang: Usually Vulgar. toilet; bathroom.
Slang. jail:
He’s been in the can for a week.
Slang: Sometimes Vulgar. buttocks.
Military Slang.

a depth charge.
a destroyer.

to preserve by sealing in a can, jar, etc.
Slang. to dismiss; fire.
Slang. to throw (something) away.
Slang. to put a stop to:
Can that noise!
to record, as on film or tape.
carry the can, British and Canadian Slang. to take the responsibility.
in the can, recorded on film; completed:
The movie is in the can and ready for release.
Historical Examples

The Mad Lover Francis Beaumont
Cleopatra H. Rider Haggard
Cleopatra H. Rider Haggard
Cleopatra H. Rider Haggard
Saronia Richard Short
Jewish Fairy Tales and Legends Gertrude Landa
Dictionary of Quotations from Ancient and Modern, English and Foreign Sources James Wood
Saronia Richard Short
The Fair Maid of Perth Sir Walter Scott
The Boy Crusaders John G. Edgar

(archaic) when used with the pronoun thou or its relative form, a form of can1
verb (intransitive) (past) could takes an infinitive without to or an implied infinitive
used as an auxiliary to indicate ability, skill, or fitness to perform a task: I can run a mile in under four minutes
used as an auxiliary to indicate permission or the right to something: can I have a drink?
used as an auxiliary to indicate knowledge of how to do something: he can speak three languages fluently
used as an auxiliary to indicate the possibility, opportunity, or likelihood: my trainer says I can win the race if I really work hard
a container, esp for liquids, usually of thin sheet metal: a petrol can, beer can
another name (esp US) for tin (sense 2)
Also called canful. the contents of a can or the amount a can will hold
a slang word for prison
(US & Canadian) a slang word for toilet or buttocks See toilet
(US, navy) a slang word for destroyer
(navy, slang) a depth charge
a shallow cylindrical metal container of varying size used for storing and handling film
(informal) can of worms, a complicated problem
carry the can, See carry (sense 37)
in the can

(of a film, piece of music, etc) having been recorded, processed, edited, etc
(informal) arranged or agreed: the contract is almost in the can

verb cans, canning, canned
to put (food, etc) into a can or cans; preserve in a can
(transitive) (US, slang) to dismiss from a job
(transitive) (US, informal) to stop (doing something annoying or making an annoying noise) (esp in the phrase can it!)
(transitive) (informal) to reject or discard

A toilet; john •Said to be a shortening of pisscan (1900+)
The buttocks; rump; ass: And that’s when I asked her about her fat can (1910+)
A jail or prison; cell (1910+)
A destroyer; tin can (1930s+ Navy)
A hot rod (1950s+ Hot rodders)
An ounce of marijuana or other narcotic (1930s+ Narcotics)
canvasback duck: I know there are a lot of hunters here this weekend to try for cans (1990s+)

To discharge an employee; fire: He is not the first commentator to be canned by an editor (1905+)
To stop; cease, esp some objectionable behavior •Usu a stern command: Let’s can the noise (1906+)
: They caught him and canned him for two weeks
To score by throwing a basket: Shaq canned another 20-footer (1980s+ Basketball)

cancer (constellation)

can do with
can of worms


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  • Choose

    to select from a number of possibilities; pick by preference: She chose Sunday for her departure. to prefer or decide (to do something): He chose to run for election. to want; desire: I choose moving to the city. (especially in children’s games) to contend with (an opponent) to decide, as by odd or even, who […]

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    a form of ·can not. cannot but, have no alternative but to: We cannot but choose otherwise. verb an auxiliary verb expressing incapacity, inability, withholding permission, etc; can not v. see under can’t

  • Cannoting

    a form of ·can not. cannot but, have no alternative but to: We cannot but choose otherwise. verb an auxiliary verb expressing incapacity, inability, withholding permission, etc; can not v. see under can’t

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