- cancan1 [kan; , kən]v.aux.pt.could [ME < OE, 1st & 3d pers. sing., pres. indic., of cunnan, know, have power to, be able; common Gmc < IE base * gen-, *gno- > L gnoscere, KNOW; orig. meaning “to be able mentally or spiritually,” as distinguished from may, “to be able physically”]1. know(s) how to2. am, are, or is able to3. am, are, or is likely or at all likely to [can that be true?]4. have or has the moral or legal right to5. Informal am, are, or is permitted to; may: As a modal auxiliary, can is followed by an infinitive without tovi.1. know(s) how2. am, are, or is able [yes I can]3. am, are, or is likely or at all likely4. have or has the moral or legal right5. Informal am, are, or is permitted; mayvt.Obs. know(s)know(s)——————can butcan onlyUSAGE- traditional grammar makes a clear distinction between CAN1 (for ability) and MAY1 (for permission), the classic example being the retort, “Yes, you can go, but you may not”; in everyday speech and writing, however, CAN1 is generally accepted for both meanings, with MAY1 being used only when the notion of permission is important to the sense of an utterance and there is a possibility of ambiguitycan2 [kan]n.[ME & OE canne, a cup, container < Gmc * kanna (> LL canna, a vessel); prob. < IE base * gan(dh), container > MIr gann, ON kani]1. a container of various kinds, usually made of metal with a separate cover [a milk can, a garbage can, a can of shoe polish ]☆ 2. a container made of tinned iron or other metal, in which foods or other perishable products are sealed for preservation☆ 3. the amount that a can holds☆ 4. Slanga) a prisonb) the buttocksc) a toiletd) short for TIN CAN (sense 2)vt.canned, canning☆ 1. to put up in airtight cans or jars for preservation2. Slanga) to dismiss; dischargeb) to put an end to; stop——————in the canrecorded, filmed, taped, etc. but not yet released for sale, exhibition, broadcast, viewing, etc.
English World dictionary. V. Neufeldt. 2014.