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

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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for canard


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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 And this canard that this exercise was done to make that possible is totally false. Madison Dibble, Washington Examiner, "William Barr counters Trump claim that he went to White House bunker for 'inspection' amid protests," 8 June 2020 Recipes include Jamaican and French fare (or a combination), like fried dumplings, saltfish and plantains, confit de canard, and French Jamaican jerk duck. Hilary Sheinbaum, New York Times, "Podcasts Inspired by Love and Relationships," 5 May 2020 When the whole Russian collusion canard collapsed, there was scarcely a word of acknowledgement that 80 percent of the national political media had been pushing a defamatory fiction for the last three years. Conrad Black, National Review, "The Media Versus Trump," 28 Apr. 2020 From the outset of Trump’s term, his canards, such as his claim that three million people voted illegally in the 2016 Presidential election, have been used to bolster attempts to make voting more difficult. Jelani Cobb, The New Yorker, "How the Coronavirus Pandemic Intensifies the Fight Over Voting Rights," 7 Apr. 2020 In parallel, the annals throw up an equally casual canard: that women aren’t as good as men at waging war. Tunku Varadarajan, WSJ, "‘The War Queens’ Review: The Distaff and the Spear," 13 Mar. 2020 Recently Rutgers University professor Jasbir Puar was celebrated for enrobing the canard of Jewish organ theft in a sumptuous fabric of critical theory. John-paul Pagano, National Review, "Blood Libel: The Conspiracy Theory That Jews Are ‘Anti-Human’," 23 Sep. 2019 Such absorbers would likely be put on areas likely to reflect radar waves, such as the edges of canards, weapon bay doors, and engine nozzles. Popular Science, "China’s new stealth fighter uses powerful materials with geometry not found in nature," 22 Mar. 2018 This gives the lie to that canard about which fork to use being a snobbish etiquette test. Judith Martin, Washington Post, "Miss Manners: Neighbors, come get your stuff!," 25 Nov. 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of canard

1843, 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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about canard

Time Traveler for canard

Time Traveler

The first known use of canard was in 1843

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about canard

Statistics for canard

Last Updated

18 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Canard.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Aug. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for canard


How to pronounce canard (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of canard

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

More from Merriam-Webster on canard

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for canard

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with canard

Comments on canard

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


Test Your Vocabulary

July 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • papercraft sunset
  • Which is a synonym of mien?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!