Meaning of cant

cant




Cant is language repeated so often and so mechanically that it’s essentially empty of meaning. Cant can also mean the specialized jargon of a particular group — like the “cant of piracy” (e.g., Ahoy! Lubber! Arrr!).

Possible sources for cant exist in both Irish Gaelic and Latin, and the meanings of both are similar: caint is “speech,” while cantare is “to sing.” In broader English, the word was first used to mock the singing of monks (who makes fun of monks?). As it evolved, cant became the whining of beggars and then the secret language of thieves, and the negative connotations persist in modern usage. Just think of the clichés and catchphrases parroted by politicians during election season!

Definitions of cant
  1. noun

    a slope in the turn of a road or track; the outside is higher than the inside in order to reduce the effects of centrifugal force

    synonyms:

    bank, camber

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    type of:

    incline, side, slope

    an elevated geological formation

  2. noun

    two surfaces meeting at an angle different from 90 degrees

    synonyms:

    bevel, chamfer

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    types:

    splay

    an outward bevel around a door or window that makes it seem larger
    type of:

    edge

    a sharp side formed by the intersection of two surfaces of an object

  3. verb

    heel over

    synonyms:

    cant over, pitch, slant, tilt

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    types:

    cock

    tilt or slant to one side
    type of:

    move

    move so as to change position, perform a nontranslational motion

  4. noun

    a characteristic language of a particular group (as among thieves)

    synonyms:

    argot, jargon, lingo, patois, slang, vernacular

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    types:

    street name

    slang for something (especially for an illegal drug)
    rhyming slang

    slang that replaces words with rhyming words or expressions and then typically omits the rhyming component
    type of:

    non-standard speech

    speech that differs from the usual accepted, easily recognizable speech of native adult members of a speech community

  5. noun

    insincere talk about religion or morals

    synonyms:

    pious platitude

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    type of:

    talk, talking

    an exchange of ideas via conversation

  6. noun

    stock phrases that have become nonsense through endless repetition

    synonyms:

    buzzword

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    type of:

    bunk, hokum, meaninglessness, nonsense, nonsensicality

    a message that seems to convey no meaning

Word Family

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