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

Epstein had toiletries taken away because they were not purchased from the canteen. Skyler Swisher,, "Jeffrey Epstein’s unusual lockup detailed in records, from jailhouse panties to contraband facial exercise manual," 19 Aug. 2019 Following a tour of the South Korean side of the DMZ, which also took in a windswept guard post and a canteen where troops presented the president with a golfing outfit, Mr Trump strolled towards the dividing line in the truce village of Panmunjom. Seoul, The Economist, "Donald Trump meets Kim Jong Un on the border between South and North Korea," 30 June 2019 The move takes effect from September, when the new academic year begins, and will affect all canteens, cafes and food outlets on the university's grounds. Rob Picheta, CNN, "A university has banned beef to help fight climate change," 13 Aug. 2019 Even though the campus seems quiet and somewhat empty, the canteen is bustling. The Economist, "China’s Silicon Valley is transforming China, but not yet the world," 11 July 2019 And behind that is a canteen that is still and actually pretty good condition. Fox News, "Police say they may never know Las Vegas shooter's motive," 3 Aug. 2018 In Waterloo, Iowa, the Salvation Army was combatting the heat and trying to keep people safe by distributing water, popsicles and other treats in a mobile canteen. Phil Helsel, NBC News, "Searing heat grips much of the U.S. — with the worst of it still to come for many," 19 July 2019 Internal Vale documents reviewed by the Journal show that the company had already mapped out the areas that would be affected if some of its dams burst, showing the canteen would be hit in the case of the Brumadinho site. Luciana Magalhaes, WSJ, "Blasts Probed in Brazil Dam Burst," 25 June 2019 Bill Shanley and his canteen, which was lost in France during World War II and returned to his daughter in Chicago. Etched in the metal is his signature, a naked woman and his Army serial number. Chicago Tribune Staff,, "Daywatch: What's in the Illinois state budget, 75th anniversary of D-Day and other things to know to start your day," 6 June 2019

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 entry 4

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about canteen

Dictionary Entries near canteen


cant body

cant dog


cante hondo



Statistics for canteen

Last Updated

1 Oct 2019

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

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).


friendly or mild

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Where in the World? A Quiz

  • peter bruegel tower of babel painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

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!