can·​teen | \ kan-ˈtēn How to pronounce canteen (audio) \

Definition of canteen

1a : a portable chest with compartments for carrying bottles or for cooking and eating utensils
b : a flask for carrying liquids (as on a hike)
c : mess kit
d British : a chest for storing flatware
2a : a bar at a military post or camp
b : a general store at a military post : exchange
c : an establishment that serves as an informal social club (as for soldiers or a community's teenagers)
d : a small cafeteria or snack bar

Examples of canteen in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Along with the playwright and the actors, they were crammed into the theater’s small canteen, shouting their congratulations and conversations in an atmosphere thick with cigarette smoke and fragrant Austrian white wine. New York Times, "Ayad Akhtar Gets a European Welcome, With Conditions," 15 June 2018 But Arles’s arts scene is thriving again with LUMA Arles, a vast, 20-acre arts complex built with warehouses turned exhibition spaces, a bio-design workshop, and a canteen-style restaurant. Cnt Editors, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Next Great Food Scene, Beach Town, and More: The 2019 Trends We're Calling Now," 18 Dec. 2018 But the canteen’s very success among the pensioners — and increasing lack of popularity among city workers — has become a problem for the Hamburg authorities. New York Times, "Come for the Herring, Stay for the Chitchat: An Unlikely Haven for the Aged," 13 Feb. 2018 Indonesian dishes at Beetle Cafe on the Ave transport you to a Jakarta canteen, and at a student budget. Shirley Qiu, The Seattle Times, "Finding comfort and classic Indonesian dishes at Seattle’s Beetle Cafe," 27 Aug. 2018 Its chef, Armand Amal, is building a small culinary empire in Arles under Hoffmann’s patronage—with a casual canteen at Luma and restaurants at her two boutique hotels in town. Jay Cheshes, WSJ, "Maja Hoffmann’s Cultural Complex Is Poised to Transform This French City," 21 Aug. 2018 The last place serving food was the canteen at the local hospital, which shuttered in 2010. Michael Meyer, New York Times, "A Pittsburgh Area Restaurant That Trades Fussy for Fun," 7 July 2018 The Union Station canteen was not the only place in Indianapolis for the Armed Forces. Dawn Mitchell, Indianapolis Star, "Union Station canteen was 'home away from home' for fighting forces," 30 Mar. 2018 Meanwhile, rising unemployment and the rolling back of assistance programs have hurt northerners like Suwanna Khanadham, who owns a canteen in Chiang Mai selling khao soi, or curry noodle soup. Time, "Thailand’s Leader Promised to Restore Democracy. Instead He's Tightening His Grip," 21 June 2018

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

1737, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for canteen

French cantine bottle case, sutler's shop, from Italian cantina wine cellar, probably from canto corner, from Latin canthus iron tire — more at cant

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about canteen

Dictionary Entries near canteen


cant body

cant dog


cante hondo



Statistics for canteen

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for canteen

The first known use of canteen was in 1737

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for canteen



English Language Learners Definition of canteen

: a store in a camp, school, etc., in which food, drinks, and small supplies are sold
chiefly US : a place where drinks and entertainment are provided for soldiers at a military base or camp
chiefly British : a place where food is served in a factory, school, etc.


can·​teen | \ kan-ˈtēn How to pronounce canteen (audio) \

Kids Definition of canteen

1 : a store (as in a camp or factory) in which food, drinks, and small supplies are sold
2 : a place of recreation and entertainment for people in military service
3 : a small container for carrying water or another liquid a hiker's canteen

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on canteen

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with canteen

Spanish Central: Translation of canteen

Nglish: Translation of canteen for Spanish Speakers

Comments on canteen

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


to affect and impair by alcohol or a drug

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!