noun (1)
cant·​er | \ ˈkan-tər \

Definition of canter 

(Entry 1 of 3)

: one who uses cant: such as
b : a user of professional or religious cant


can·​ter | \ ˈkan-tər \
cantered; cantering; canters

Definition of canter (Entry 2 of 3)

intransitive verb

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

transitive verb

: to cause to go at a canter


noun (2)
can·​ter | \ ˈkan-tər \

Definition of canter (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : a 3-beat gait resembling but smoother and slower than the gallop
2 : a ride at a canter

Examples of canter in a Sentence


The horses cantered across the grass. We cantered off toward the lake.

First Known Use of canter

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

History and Etymology for canter


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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about canter

Statistics for canter

Last Updated

14 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for canter

The first known use of canter was in 1609

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for canter



English Language Learners Definition of canter

of a horse : to run fairly fast : to run at a canter

: to ride on a horse that is running fairly fast : to ride a horse at a canter


can·​ter | \ ˈkan-tər \

Kids Definition of canter

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a horse's gait resembling but slower than a gallop


cantered; cantering

Kids Definition of canter (Entry 2 of 2)

: to run with a movement that resembles but is slower than a gallop Below he saw the Black cantering along the beach.— Walter Farley, The Black Stallion

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on canter

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with canter

Spanish Central: Translation of canter

Nglish: Translation of canter for Spanish Speakers

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

Comments on canter

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


involving abstract or general statements

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Liar, Liar Quiz

  • alt-5761dbe2ba986
  • Someone who pretends to be sick in order to avoid work is a:
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

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!