noun ca·nard \kə-ˈnärd also -ˈnär\

Definition of canard

  1. 1a :  a false or unfounded report or story; especially :  a fabricated report The report about a conspiracy proved to be a canard.b :  a groundless rumor or belief the widespread canard that every lawyer is dishonest

  2. 2 :  an airplane with horizontal stabilizing and control surfaces in front of supporting surfaces; also :  a small airfoil in front of the wing of an aircraft that can increase the aircraft's performance

canard was our Word of the Day on 06/06/2007. Hear the podcast!

Examples of canard in a sentence

  1. The book repeats some of history's oldest canards.

  2. the widespread canard that every lawyer is dishonest

Did You Know?

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.

Origin and Etymology of canard

French, literally, duck; in sense 1, from Medieval French vendre des canards à moitié to cheat, literally, to half-sell ducks

First Known Use: 1851

Other Aeronautics/Aerospace Terms

CANARD Defined for English Language Learners


noun ca·nard \kə-ˈnärd also -ˈnär\

Definition of canard for English Language Learners

  • : a false report or story : a belief or rumor that is not true

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up canard? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a rounded knoll or a ridge of ice

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