Definition of canard
- The report about a conspiracy proved to be a canard.
- the widespread canard that every lawyer is dishonest
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
The book repeats some of history's oldest canards.
the widespread canard that every lawyer is dishonest
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'canard.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
In 16th-century France "vendre des canards à moitié" was a colorful way of saying "to fool" or "to cheat." The French phrase means, literally, "to half-sell ducks." No one now knows just what was meant by "to half-sell"; the proverb was probably based on some story widely known at the time, but the details have not survived. At any rate, the expression led to the use of "canard," the French word for "duck," with the meaning "a hoax" or "a fabrication." English speakers adopted this "canard" in the mid-1800s. The aeronautical sense of "canard," used from the early days of flying, comes from the stubby duck-like appearance of the aircraft.
First Known Use: 1851See Words from the same year
: a false report or story : a belief or rumor that is not true
What made you want to look up canard? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).
Merriam-Webster's New Words Quiz—Fall 2017 Edition!
Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!TAKE THE QUIZ
Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.TAKE THE QUIZ