Can
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Note: [The transitive use is obsolete.]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. p. c[=u][eth] (for cun[eth]); akin to OS. Kunnan, D. Kunnen, OHG. chunnan, G. k["o]nnen, Icel. kunna, Goth. Kunnan, and E. ken to know. The present tense I can (AS. ic cann) was originally a preterit, meaning I have known or Learned, and hence I know, know how. [root]45. See {Ken}, {Know}; cf. {Con}, {Cunning}, {Uncouth}.] 1. To know; to understand. [Obs.] [1913 Webster]

I can rimes of Rodin Hood. --Piers Plowman. [1913 Webster]

I can no Latin, quod she. --Piers Plowman. [1913 Webster]

Let the priest in surplice white, That defunctive music can. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

2. To be able to do; to have power or influence. [Obs.] [1913 Webster]

The will of Him who all things can. --Milton. [1913 Webster]

For what, alas, can these my single arms? --Shak. [1913 Webster]

M[ae]c[ae]nas and Agrippa, who can most with C[ae]sar. --Beau. & Fl. [1913 Webster]

3. To be able; -- followed by an infinitive without to; as, I can go, but do not wish to.

Syn: {Can but}, {Can not but}. It is an error to use the former of these phrases where the sens requires the latter. If we say, ``I can but perish if I go,'' ``But'' means only, and denotes that this is all or the worst that can happen. When the apostle Peter said. ``We can not but speak of the things which we have seen and heard.'' he referred to a moral constraint or necessety which rested upon him and his associates; and the meaning was, We cannot help speaking, We cannot refrain from speaking. This idea of a moral necessity or constraint is of frequent occurrence, and is also expressed in the phrase, ``I can not help it.'' Thus we say. ``I can not but hope,'' ``I can not but believe,'' ``I can not but think,'' ``I can not but remark,'' etc., in cases in which it would be an error to use the phrase can but. [1913 Webster]

Yet he could not but acknowledge to himself that there was something calculated to impress awe, . . . in the sudden appearances and vanishings . . . of the masque --De Quincey. [1913 Webster]

Tom felt that this was a rebuff for him, and could not but understand it as a left-handed hit at his employer. --Dickens. [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

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  • CAN — bezeichnet: einen meist männlichen Vornamen, siehe Can (Vorname) den alternativen Titel des deutschen Fernsehfilms „Wut“ von Züli Aladag, siehe Wut (Fernsehfilm) eine deutsche Rockband, siehe Can (Band) im Graffiti die Sprühdose (englisch für:… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • CaN — bezeichnet: den männlichen Vornamen türkischen Ursprungs, siehe Can (Vorname) den alternativen Titel des deutschen Fernsehfilms Wut von Züli Aladag, siehe Wut (Fernsehfilm) die deutsche Rockband, siehe Can (Band) im Graffiti die Sprühdose… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Can — bezeichnet: den männlichen Vornamen türkischen Ursprungs, siehe Can (Vorname) den alternativen Titel des deutschen Fernsehfilms Wut von Züli Aladag, siehe Wut (Fernsehfilm) die deutsche Rockband, siehe Can (Band) im Graffiti die Sprühdose… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Can. — bezeichnet: den männlichen Vornamen türkischen Ursprungs, siehe Can (Vorname) den alternativen Titel des deutschen Fernsehfilms Wut von Züli Aladag, siehe Wut (Fernsehfilm) die deutsche Rockband, siehe Can (Band) im Graffiti die Sprühdose… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • can — noun. Can is the word generally used in BrE for the container when the contents are liquid (a can of beer / a can of soup). When the contents are solid, tin is more usual (a tin of beans / a tin of peaches) but can is used for this too in AmE.… …   Modern English usage

  • can — can1 [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… …   English World dictionary

  • can — Ⅰ. can [1] ► MODAL VERB (3rd sing. present can; past could) 1) be able to. 2) used to express doubt or surprise: he can t have finished. 3) used to indicate that something is typically the case: he could be very moody. 4) be permit …   English terms dictionary

  • Can — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. {{{image}}}   Sigles d une seule lettre   Sigles de deux lettres > Sigles de trois lettres …   Wikipédia en Français

  • can — vb Can, may are often confused in use. In its commonest sense can expresses ability, whether physical or mental {he can climb this pole} {he is only four, but he can read} {he will do it if he possibly can} {when Duty whispers low, thou must, the …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • can — cañ interj. cin (skardžiam suskambėjimui reikšti): Klausau tik cañ cañ su žvaguliais ir nuskambėjo tolyn Ds. Cañ cañ cañ – skambina pietų Gs. Tik cañ – ir iškrito (sudužo) langas Gs. Su nagu užkabinsi už dalgės – tik cañ (suskamba)! Jnšk …   Dictionary of the Lithuanian Language

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