Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

can  - definition and synonyms

 
 
 
Close

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Close

Thesaurus

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

more
noun [countable] can pronunciation in American English /kæn/
Word Forms
Close
singularcan
pluralcans
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  1. 1
    a closed metal container with round sides, for food or drinks. It is opened with a can opener. In British English the word tin is usually used if a can contains food, but not if it contains a drink

    empty beer cans

    a can of beans/soda

    1. a.
      a metal container with round sides and a lid, used especially for holding liquids

      There’s a little paint left in the can.

      a garbage can

    2. c.
      the amount of food, drink, paint, etc. that a metal container holds
      can of:

      Add two cans of tomatoes to the sauce and stir.

  2. 2

    the can

    American informal a toilet
    Synonyms and related words
  3. 3

    the can

    American informal a prison
  4. 4
    American impolite your bottom
  5. From our crowdsourced Open Dictionary
    5
    kick the can down the road to delay dealing with a serious problem in the hope that it will go away

    You can't solve a debt problem with more debt. European leaders are just kicking the can down the road.

    Submitted from United Kingdom on 11/07/2012

bit rot

when electronic information is lost because the software or devices needed to read it are no longer available

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary

troll factory

a company that pays its employees to write online comments in favour or against somebody or something posing as ordinary Internet users

add a word

Blog

A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog