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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for canard


story, tale, whisper

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

There are many canards about that generation, but the most persistent is that the boomers were central to the social and cultural events of the nineteen-sixties. Louis Menand, The New Yorker, "The Misconception about Baby Boomers and the Sixties," 18 Aug. 2019 Trump aired this canard most recently during his ghastly rally Wednesday in North Carolina, where it was sandwiched in among openly racist chants. Los Angeles Times, "Column: How Obamacare brought health coverage to the people, in four amazing charts," 18 July 2019 But this claim, like the scaremongering around the 2002 United bankruptcy, is simply a canard. John Case, The New Republic, "An Economy in Waiting," 8 July 2019 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

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

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about canard

Listen to Our Podcast about canard

Dictionary Entries near canard








Statistics for canard

Last Updated

15 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for canard

The first known use of canard was in 1851

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for canard



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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with canard

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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).


authorized for issue (as a bond)

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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!