ca·​nard | \ kə-ˈnärd also -ˈnär How to pronounce canard (audio) \

Definition of canard

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 : 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

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Synonyms for canard


story, tale, whisper

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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.

Examples of canard in a Sentence

The book repeats some of history's oldest canards. the widespread canard that every lawyer is dishonest

Recent Examples on the Web

The worst canard surrounding the Four Freedoms concerns the Freedom from Want picture. Brian T. Allen, National Review, "A Closer Look at Rockwell’s Four Freedoms," 22 June 2019 This age-old canard has been disproven time and time again, with recent data showing that states that raised their minimum wage between 2013 and 2017 had higher job growth than states that didn't. Chris Lu For Cnn Business Perspectives, CNN, "Congress hasn't raised the minimum wage in 3,614 days. It's time to put hard-working Americans first," 16 June 2019 Its design features 36 electric jet engines arrayed in rows on moveable flaps on the wings and front canards. Dan Neil, WSJ, "The First Flying-Car Review," 12 Sep. 2018 The aircraft, about the size of an F-16, is shaped to cancel the sonic boom by separating the shock waves with various lifting surfaces (like canards). Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "Supersonic Airliners Are About to Take Off. Again.," 7 Jan. 2019 But the Koch brothers canard spooked enough progressive voters to defeat the measure. John Daniel Davidson, WSJ, "Austin Votes to Keep the Books Closed," 30 Nov. 2018 There's also a small fin, called a canard, near the front of the spaceship, which helps in-flight stability. Condé Nast Traveler, "SpaceX Announcement: Yusaku Maezawa Is First Tourist to Fly to the Moon," 17 Sep. 2018 The most galumphing canard is that Donald Trump paves the way for all who succeed in business suddenly to succeed in presidential politics. Holman W. Jenkins, WSJ, "Starbucks Chief Won’t Stay Hot," 5 June 2018 And how irresponsible for Abbas — a world leader of sorts — to spew such low-level, garden variety anti-Semitic canards. Nicholas Goldberg,, "Mahmoud Abbas' reprehensible anti-Semitic comments deserve unequivocal condemnation," 2 May 2018

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.

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First Known Use of canard

1851, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for canard

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

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Statistics for canard

Last Updated

7 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for canard

The first known use of canard was in 1851

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English Language Learners Definition of canard

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

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