Ash·can | \ ˈash-ˌkan \

Definition of Ashcan 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: of or relating to a group of 20th century American painters who depicted city life realistically Ashcan school

ash can


Definition of ash can (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a metal receptacle for refuse

2 slang : depth charge

Examples of Ashcan in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In other places, such as inside some more protected homes, the blanket of ash can range from a few inches (centimeters) to a foot or two. Rodrigo Abd, Fox News, "AP PHOTOS: Traces of life trapped beneath volcano's ash," 13 June 2018 The region surrounding the volcano is also experiencing poor air quality, a common impact of volcanic eruptions. Inhaling volcanic ash can lead to respiratory issues, and experts advise staying indoors. Sarah Gibbens, National Geographic, "Why Guatemala's Volcano Is Deadlier Than Hawaii's," 4 June 2018 Because ash can destroy a jet engine, planes flying would be diverted and flights to and from the city would be cancelled, Waythomas said. Michelle Theriault Boots, Anchorage Daily News, "Alaska is no stranger to volcanoes erupting. But what would happen in a big one?," 28 May 2018 The remains can be cremated, and the ashes can go into a columbarium niche for 30 years, renewable for 20 more. New York Times, "A Chance to Spend 99-Plus Years in Venice (in the Afterlife)," 21 May 2018 The ash can be sucked into jet engines, jamming the mechanical systems. Doyle Rice, USA TODAY, "There's a code red for Hawaii volcano because falling ash, vog could harm humans, aircraft," 16 May 2018 Falling ash can accumulate on roofs and collapse structures as well. Umair Irfan, Vox, "Volcanoes are awe-inspiring. Here are 7 things to know about them.," 11 May 2018 If it is concentrated in one place, excessive salt from the ash can leach into the soil and create a harmful environment for plants. Kym Pokorny,, "Sweep wood ash from the fireplace to the garden," 20 Mar. 2018 And if rock fragments deposited in layers up to 700 feet deep don’t kill you, the agency warned, the heated gas and ash can choke you to death. Alex Horton, Washington Post, "Japanese volcano spews ash thousands of feet into sky, grounding flights nearby," 6 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'Ashcan.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of Ashcan


1939, in the meaning defined above


1872, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Dictionary Entries near Ashcan



ash can


ash cone



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Time Traveler for Ashcan

The first known use of Ashcan was in 1872

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a magnificent or impressive array

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