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Related to canst: cloyed


aux.v. Archaic
A second person singular present tense of can1.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


archaic when used with the pronoun thou or its relative form, a form of can1
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(kæn; unstressed kən)
auxiliary verb.
1. to be able to; have the ability, power, or skill to: She can solve the problem easily.
2. to know how to: I can play chess, but not very well.
3. to have the power or means to: a dictator who 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.
7. Obs. to know.
can but, to be able to do nothing else except; can only: We can but try.
[before 900; Middle English, Old English, present indic. singular 1st, 3rd person of cunnan to know, know how]
usage: can and may are often interchangeable in the sense of possibility: A power failure can (or may) occur at any time. Despite the traditional insistence that only may conveys permission, both words are regularly used in this sense: Can (or May) I borrow your tape recorder? can occurs this way chiefly in spoken English; may occurs more frequently in formal speech and writing. In negative constructions, can't or cannot is more common than may not; the contraction mayn't is rare: You can't park in the driveway. can but and cannot but are somewhat formal expressions suggesting that there is no alternative to doing something. See also cannot, help.



n., v. canned, can•ning. n.
1. a sealed container for food, beverages, etc., as of aluminum, sheet iron coated with tin, or other metal.
2. a receptacle for garbage, ashes, etc.
3. a bucket or other container for holding or carrying liquids.
4. a metal or plastic container for holding film on cores or reels.
5. Slang: Sometimes Vulgar. toilet; bathroom.
6. Slang. jail.
7. Slang: Sometimes Vulgar. buttocks.
8. Mil. Slang.
a. a depth charge.
b. a destroyer.
9. to preserve by sealing in a can, jar, etc.
10. Slang. to dismiss; fire.
11. Slang. to put a stop to: Can that noise!
12. to record, as on film or tape.
in the can, (of a commercial film, scene, etc.) completed.
[before 1000; Middle English, Old English canne, c. Old High German channa, Old Norse kanna]


1. Canada.
2. Canadian.


1. canceled.
2. canon.
3. canto.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
Canst thou go nigh unto thy friend, and not go over to him?
Thou canst not adorn thyself fine enough for thy friend; for thou shalt be unto him an arrow and a longing for the Superman.
Give him his scope in this matter, for thou canst not control him.
I tell thee once more, that thou canst not save Rebecca.
"Young friend," said he, when Alleyne was abreast of him, "I fear from thy garb that thou canst know little of the Abbey of Beaulieu."
Thy word is law; thou canst dispose of us The living, as thou will'st, as of the dead.
Hide it, O hide it, Oedipus, thou canst. O, by our fathers' gods, consent I pray; Come back to Thebes, come to thy father's home, Bid Athens, as is meet, a fond farewell; Thebes thy old foster-mother claims thee first.
On the trail that thou must tread To the thresholds of our dread, Where the Flower blossoms red; Through the nights when thou shalt lie Prisoned from our Mother-sky, Hearing us, thy loves, go by; In the dawns when thou shalt wake To the toil thou canst not break, Heartsick for the Jungle's sake: Wood and Water, Wind and Tree, Wisdom, Strength, and Courtesy, Jungle-Favour go with thee!
Thou canst cast a spell by the mere winking of an eye.
"My poor woman," said the not unkind old minister, "the child shall be well cared for -- far better than thou canst do for it."
Believe it or not, thou canst not die till it be seen, old man.
It was thy will to make me thine, and thou didst so follow thy will, that now, even though thou repentest, thou canst not help being mine.