1 of 3

noun (1)

cant·​er ˈkan-tər How to pronounce canter (audio)
: one who uses cant: such as
: a user of professional or religious cant


2 of 3


can·​ter ˈkan-tər How to pronounce canter (audio)
cantered; cantering; canters

intransitive verb

: to move at or as if at a canter : lope
: to ride a horse at a canter

transitive verb

: to cause to go at a canter


3 of 3

noun (2)

can·​ter ˈkan-tər How to pronounce canter (audio)
: a 3-beat gait resembling but smoother and slower than the gallop
: a ride at a canter

Examples of canter in a Sentence

Verb The horses cantered across the grass. We cantered off toward the lake.
Recent Examples on the Web
That’s not quite as many as 2016, when seventeen candidates contested the primary that Trump eventually won in a canter. John Cassidy, The New Yorker, 24 June 2023 Related In the end, Subtract won the chart race in a canter. Lars Brandle, Billboard, 15 May 2023 But the animals here, designed by Nick Barnes and Finn Caldwell, with movement direction by Caldwell, prowl and canter and leap with astonishing character and style. Alexis Soloski, New York Times, 30 Mar. 2023 The horse seemed to enjoy its 15 minutes of fame, trotting by with ease, snaking in and out of the 1920s and 30s constructivist installations and by sand and imitation grass, before breaking out into a canter around the set. Thomas Adamson, USA TODAY, 25 Jan. 2022 First is the grooming, then a thorough warm-up of walk, trot, and canter in the arena which gets the horses’ minds focused. Shelley Jones, Chicago Tribune, 28 Sep. 2022 Crossland said getting Pinch to canter was the biggest accomplishment of her riding career. Madison Smalstig, The Indianapolis Star, 1 July 2022 The canter back to .500 has been led by Pérez, who has stabilized the starting rotation, allowing the bullpen to settle into roles. Dallas News, 31 May 2022 As spectators clung to the fence, Hannah asked Rosette to circle Baghera, first at a walk, then a trot, and finally at a canter. Lois Szymanski,, 19 Oct. 2021
Footage captured by bystanders shows a Harriot II employee jumping in the river and swimming to Pickett’s aid, a group of three men cantering up to join the fight, and even a pair of white Crocs being turned into anklets by the sheer force of body slams. Ct Jones, Rolling Stone, 11 Aug. 2023 Sometime during the process, a fox went cantering past, heading from the direction of the public beach toward the wilderness to the west. Lawrence Specker |, al, 29 June 2023 This morning’s Stella McCartney show featured one of the moments of the season: Alongside her models were seven gorgeous horses—many of them siblings—who cantered, rolled in the sand, bowed, and behaved extraordinarily and beautifully. Luke Leitch, Vogue, 6 Mar. 2023 Hang a left and canter back to the trailhead. Roger Naylor, The Arizona Republic, 5 Mar. 2021 Crossland is one of about 10 of Keller’s students who were able to canter with Pinch. Madison Smalstig, The Indianapolis Star, 1 July 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'canter.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



short for obsolete canterbury, noun (canter), from Canterbury, England; from the supposed gait of pilgrims riding to Canterbury

First Known Use

Noun (1)

1609, in the meaning defined above


1706, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

Noun (2)

1755, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of canter was in 1609

Dictionary Entries Near canter

Cite this Entry

“Canter.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
: a three-beat gait of a horse resembling but smoother and slower than the gallop


2 of 2 verb
: to go or cause to go at a canter
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