There are 2 main definitions of cant in English:

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cant1

Syllabification: cant
Pronunciation: /kant
 
/

noun

1Hypocritical and sanctimonious talk, typically of a moral, religious, or political nature: the liberal case against all censorship is often cant
More example sentences
  • For cant, humbug and moral spinelessness, this took some beating.
  • It annoyed Flaubert mightily that purveyors of political cant should be greeted with more ballyhoo than gifted poets.
  • Most orthodox historians think that comments like these are mere hypocritical cant.
Synonyms
2 [as modifier] Denoting a phrase or catchword temporarily current or in fashion: they are misrepresented as, in the cant word of our day, uncaring
More example sentences
  • Such poets as these, and Lowell especially, gave rise to the critics' cant phrase, ‘confessional poetry’, which is seriously unhelpful.
  • There is, to be sure, room for adjustment to the GST tax base, most of which should take the form of ‘rollback’, to adopt the cant phrase of the day.
  • In literary conversations, he is only capable of repeating cant phrases and dropping names.
2.1Language peculiar to a specified group or profession and regarded with disparagement: thieves' cant
More example sentences
  • The history of various families in Athy, their way of life, religion, superstition, Traveller cures and the Traveller language or cant are all documented.
  • Fagin, Sykes and Dodger use much more Dickensian language and pepper their sentences with thieves' cant.
  • Some were familiar with the culture of the London underworld, and thieves' cant became the ‘flash’ language of the barracks and factories.
Synonyms
informal lingo, -speak, -ese

verb

[no object] dated Back to top  
Talk hypocritically and sanctimoniously about something: if they’d stop canting about “honest work,” they might get somewhere
More example sentences
  • They have tried upon me all their various batteries of pious whining, hypocritical canting, lying and slandering.
  • For someone who's worked in the media for 10 years, the idea that illicit passion is not part of that is such nonsense that I think maybe it's time some of the canting stopped.
  • Imitating the canting voice of a hypocritical preacher, Douglass then gave a several-paragraph sermon based on the principle that obedience to the slavemaster is obedience to God.

Origin

early 16th century: probably from Latin cantare 'to sing' (see chant). The early meaning was 'musical sound, singing'; in the mid 17th century this gave rise to the senses 'whining manner of speaking' and 'form of words repeated mechanically in such a manner' (for example a beggar's plea), hence 'jargon' (of beggars and other such groups).

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There are 2 main definitions of cant in English:

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cant2

Syllabification: cant
Pronunciation: /kant
 
/

verb

[with object]
1Cause (something) to be in a slanting or oblique position; tilt: he canted his head to look at the screen
More example sentences
  • She leaned against the bulkhead canting her head with a sigh.
  • This holster can also be canted from a vertical position to a grip-forward or muzzle-forward position.
  • Hand-made of fine leather and trimmed in exotic alligator, the holster can be positioned straight, or canted forward for even more versatility.
Synonyms
1.1 [no object] Take or have a slanting position: mismatched slate roofs canted at all angles
More example sentences
  • Its smallish greens slant and cant at aggravating angles.

noun

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1 [in singular] A slope or tilt: the outward cant of the curving walls
More example sentences
  • Then you can reconfigure the mag carrier to a straight vertical or drop-down pull and adjust the holster to a slight cant or straight draw angle for a day at the range or concealed carry.
  • The three components of alignment are horizontal, vertical and cant, regardless of the typical cross sections encountered.
  • In his view the problem was caused by the cant not being placed so as to abut the vertical inside wall of the parapet, thus allowing a space between the vertical surface of the cant and the vertical inside surface of the parapet.
Synonyms
slope, slant, tilt, angle, inclination
2A wedge-shaped block of wood, especially one remaining after the better-quality pieces have been cut off.
Example sentences
  • Yet, MB did not know even the basic dimensions of wood used in Japanese house construction and was opposed by the sogo shosha it had relied on to export its cants.
  • Because the Micromill SLP5000D is self-reliant it can be set up in remote locations including new burn areas to process small logs into cants and dimension lumber.

Origin

Middle English (denoting an edge or brink): from Middle Low German kant, kante, Middle Dutch cant 'point, side, edge', based on a Romance word related to medieval Latin cantus 'corner, side'.

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