\ ˈkān How to pronounce cane (audio) \

Definition of cane

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a(1) : a hollow or pithy, usually slender, and often flexible jointed stem (as of a reed or bamboo) a fishing pole made of cane
(2) : any of various slender woody stems especially : an elongated flowering or fruiting stem (as of a rose) usually arising directly from the ground
b : any of various tall woody grasses or reeds: such as
(1) : any of a genus (Arundinaria) of bamboo
(2) : sugarcane
(3) : sorghum
c : rattan sense 2b especially : split rattan for wickerwork or basketwork
2 : a stick typically of wood or metal with a usually curved handle at one end that is grasped to provide stability in walking or standing
3 : a rod or stick used for flogging
4 : a tiny glass rod used in decorative glasswork (as in millefiori and paperweights)


caned; caning

Definition of cane (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to beat with a cane he sat in a professor's chair and caned sophomores for blowing spitballs— H. L. Mencken
2 : to weave or furnish with cane cane the seat of a chair

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Synonyms for cane

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of cane in a Sentence

Noun In the past, some teachers would resort to the cane when students misbehaved. The chair seat is made of cane. Verb In the past, some teachers would cane students who misbehaved.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun To make the products, the company takes fiber materials, which could include recycled boxes, newspapers, agricultural waste, wheat starch, virgin papers, and bagasse, a sugar cane byproduct. Amanda Morris, azcentral, "Arizona company fights plastic pollution at Super Bowl LIV with eco-friendly alternatives," 29 Jan. 2020 One of the passengers was Harry G. Leslie, future governor of Indiana, who suffered a fractured jaw and broken leg, which forced him to use a cane for the rest of his life. Dawn Mitchell, Indianapolis Star, "Retro Indy: 1903 train crash killed 17 people on way to Purdue football game against IU," 31 Oct. 2019 As the gunfire erupted Sunday, 13-year-old Keyla Salazar stayed back to keep pace with a relative who uses a cane. San Diego Union-Tribune, "10-year-old dragged toddler to safety as gunfire erupted," 30 July 2019 Moutal relied on a wheelchair immediately after his surgeries and now walks with a cane. oregonlive, "Jury awards more than $9 million to Vancouver, B.C. couple hit by truck while biking along I-84 in Columbia Gorge," 14 Dec. 2019 The movie is a biopic of stand-up comedian Rudy Ray Moore, who breaks through with a persona named Dolemite, a pimp with a cane, and becomes a blaxploitation leading man., "“Catherine the Great”," 21 Oct. 2019 Run Run Rudolph: Prosecco, gin, mulled wine purée, lemon and cane syrup. Phillip Valys,, "Miracle, a Christmas pop-up bar, bringing cocktails, ugly sweaters to downtown Fort Lauderdale," 14 Oct. 2019 Tall guys in track suits and sneakers, an older man who read a dog-eared Bible during breaks, an elderly woman pushing a walker and another man with a cane. John Wisely, Detroit Free Press, "How a Flint court battle became Mateen Cleaves' most divisive victory," 21 Aug. 2019 At the beginning of season 3, Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd) beats Janine senseless with a cane at a party. Ariana Romero,, "How The Handmaid's Tale Just Made Janine's Story Even More Tragic," 25 July 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Cane’s marinates never-frozen chicken tenderloins for 24 hours before dropping it in the fryer. Andy Staples,, "Where to eat, drink in Baton Rouge," 30 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cane.' 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 cane


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)


1662, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for cane


Middle English, from Middle French, from Old Occitan cana, from Latin canna, from Greek kanna, of Semitic origin; akin to Akkadian qanū reed, Hebrew qāneh

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Time Traveler for cane

Time Traveler

The first known use of cane was in the 14th century

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Statistics for cane

Last Updated

12 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Cane.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for cane


How to pronounce cane (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of cane

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a short stick that often has a curved handle and is used to help someone to walk
: a form of punishment in which a person is hit with a cane or stick
: the hard hollow stem of a plant (such as bamboo or reed) that is used to make furniture and baskets



English Language Learners Definition of cane (Entry 2 of 2)

: to hit (someone) with a cane or stick as a form of punishment


\ ˈkān How to pronounce cane (audio) \

Kids Definition of cane

1 : an often hollow, slender, and somewhat flexible plant stem
2 : a tall woody grass or reed (as sugarcane)
3 : a rod made especially of wood or metal that often has a curved handle and is used to help someone walk
4 : a rod for beating

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More from Merriam-Webster on cane

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cane

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cane

Spanish Central: Translation of cane

Nglish: Translation of cane for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cane for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about cane

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