Share this entry

Share this page

cane

Syllabification: cane
Pronunciation: /kān
 
/

Definition of cane in English:

noun

1The hollow, jointed stem of a tall grass, especially bamboo or sugar cane, or the stem of a slender palm such as rattan.
Example sentences
  • They brought the eggs back to Constantinople in hollow canes.
  • Stam's choice would be this black bamboo whose arching canes can have the gleam of polished ebony.
  • Now Alex observed that the third leg was much skinnier than the other two, like a tree branch or a cane.
1.1Any plant that produces canes.
Example sentences
  • Plant and prune vines, fruit trees, bushes and canes.
  • Bamboos and other canes often have edible seeds.
  • The actual genetic relationships among the native canes and the extent to which they contributed to the commercial hybrid germplasm has been the subject of speculation over the years.
1.2Stems of bamboo, rattan, or wicker used as a material for making furniture or baskets: [as modifier]: a cane coffee table
More example sentences
  • Every morning he heads out with a flute and two cane baskets flung across his shoulder on a bamboo pole.
  • On the ground floor of the venue, an eye-catching collection of cane furniture in a variety of shapes and styles, grabs the attention of visitors.
  • The business originally sold pottery, cane furniture and giftware at premises further down the road and was opened as a joint venture between Mrs Noon and her late husband Ronald.
1.3 short for sugar cane.
Example sentences
  • Included in yesterday's sugar package was a $50,000 re-establishment fee for cane harvesters.
  • But the funding announcements Mr Barton is expected to make during a visit to the region, do promise to sweeten the mood of cane farmers.
  • Rum is made by fermenting either cane juice or molasses mixed with water, and then distilling the resulting low-alcohol wine.
1.4A flexible, woody stem of the raspberry plant or any of its relatives.
Example sentences
  • Cut out all the old fruiting canes from raspberries, loganberries and blackberries and tie in the new shoots.
  • This disease reduces raspberry yields by wilting, stunting, and eventually killing the fruiting cane or the entire plant.
  • Prune the flowering side shoots to two to three buds above the structural canes during the dormant season.
2A length of cane or a slender stick, especially one used as a support for plants, as a walking stick, or as an instrument of punishment.
Example sentences
  • Similarly, canes or walking sticks are often coated with Teflon, so that they will not slip on hard, smooth surfaces.
  • My son is off his crutches now but still walks with a cane for support and is always in pain by the end of the day.
  • Go for a hike in the Alps and you'll notice a curious thing: Euros love their walking canes.
Synonyms
walking stick, staff;
crook, pikestaff
stick, rod, birch
historical ferule
2.1 (the cane) chiefly British A form of corporal punishment used in certain schools, involving beating with a cane: wrong answers were rewarded by the cane
More example sentences
  • The ultimate sanction of the cane still existed but was rarely applied.
  • In my day discipline was meted out with either the cane or a strap across the backside.
  • I'm very pleased to say I missed out on the days of school corporal punishment and thankfully was never exposed to the cane or other similar infamous tools of torture.

verb

[with object] Back to top  
1Beat with a cane as a punishment.
Example sentences
  • I remember anticipating the possible punishment of being caned for writing about ‘an enemy’ - a Western Christian woman - and later being admonished by mum for provoking the authorities.
  • Being pregnant, I couldn't be caned, lashed or put in the stocks.
  • But my wails fell on deaf ears as she continued caning me.
Synonyms
informal belt, whale
2 (usually as adjective caned) Make or repair (furniture) with cane: armchairs with caned seats
More example sentences
  • Thus, canvas seating furniture was popular, as were caned chairs, sofas, cribs, and beds.
  • La Maison's range of originals spans the 18th and 19th centuries, with gilded-cherub motifs, lacquered black chinoiserie and caned beds.
  • These have caned seats, and are plainer in their decoration than the chairs and stools, but they do seem to have been originally en suite, and were certainly part of the set in 1694.

Origin

late Middle English: from Old French, via Latin from Greek kanna, kannē, of Semitic origin.

More
  • cannon from (Late Middle English):

    This large heavy piece of artillery derives its name from French canon, from Italian cannone ‘large tube’, from canna ‘cane, reed, tube’. Soldiers have been called cannon fodder, no more than material to be used up in war, since the late 19th century—the expression is a translation of German Kanonenfutter. Shakespeare did encapsulate a similar idea much earlier, with his phrase ‘food for powder’ in Henry IV Part 1. Canna or its Greek equivalent kanna is the base of a number of other words in English, as well as giving us the name of the canna lily (mid 17th century), which gets its name from the shape of its leaves. Some reflect the use of the plants for making things, some their hollow stems. Canes (Middle English) are basically the same plant. Canister (Late Middle English) was originally a basket from Latin canistrum ‘basket for bread, fruit, or flowers’, from Greek kanastron ‘wicker basket’, from kanna. Canal (Late Middle English) and channel (Middle English) both come via French from Latin canalis ‘pipe, groove, channel’ from canna, and share a source with the Italian pasta cannelloni (mid 19th century). The medical cannula (late 17th century) was originally a ‘small reed’; a canyon (mid 19th century) is from Spanish cañón ‘tube’ from canna.

Derivatives

caner

1
noun
Example sentences
  • How am I going meet a responsible, nurturing woman, who isn't a caner?
  • Only problem is that I just had a spliff with my raging caner of a housemate, & it's killer stuff.
  • This work was almost certainly subcontracted and the stamp was the caner's method of recording output.

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day emulous
Pronunciation: ˈɛmjʊləs
adjective
seeking to emulate someone or something