can·​tor | \ ˈkan-tər How to pronounce cantor (audio) \

Definition of cantor

1 : a choir leader : precentor
2 : a synagogue official who sings or chants liturgical music and leads the congregation in prayer

Other Words from cantor

cantorial \ kan-​ˈtȯr-​ē-​əl How to pronounce cantor (audio) \ adjective

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The cantor is, after the rabbi, the most important figure in a Jewish worship service. A cantor not only must possess an excellent singing voice but also must know by heart long passages of Hebrew. Cantors such as Jan Peerce and Richard Tucker became international opera stars. The comedian and singer Edward Israel Iskowitz renamed himself Eddie Cantor for his original profession and became enormously popular on stage, screen, radio, and television for over 40 years.

Examples of cantor in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The first was Bach’s glorious 12-part canticle, premiered in 1723 as the conclusion of the Christmas Vespers in Leipzig as a sort of meet-your-new-cantor demonstration of his powers. Washington Post, 17 Dec. 2021 Raised in a proud Jewish household in Toronto, Strong (the granddaughter of a cantor) says she was instilled with a great amount of respect for cultural practices from a very young age. Josh Weiss, Forbes, 15 Sep. 2021 The rabbi, as if by some prior agreement, stays put as the young man takes the cantor’s place behind the microphone. Peter Orner, The New Yorker, 12 Aug. 2021 That’s why Barry Schechter of Morton Grove accepted the position of cantor at Congregation Kol Emeth in Skokie in 1981., 20 July 2021 United Brothers Synagogue will have services on both Sept. 7 and Sept. 8, cantor Joel Gluck said., 19 July 2021 His elder son, 12-year-old Aviv, has more time to study for his bar mitzvah with Pingle’s 73-year-old father, Joshua, who for many years served as cantor at his local synagogue. Cnaan Liphshiz,, 12 May 2021 On the tour, Frey met Rachel Weston, a Yiddish-speaking performer from London who was studying to be a cantor. Joe Baur,, 21 Apr. 2021 Hill envisions a day when the choir starts with African drumming, followed by a chant taught by a Jewish cantor, songs from other faiths and cultures and ending with Native American drumming. oregonlive, 3 Apr. 2021

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

1538, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for cantor

Latin, singer, from canere to sing

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Dictionary Entries Near cantor

Canton ware



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Last Updated

29 Dec 2021

Cite this Entry

“Cantor.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for cantor



English Language Learners Definition of cantor

: a person who sings and leads people in prayer in a Jewish religious service
: a person who leads a group of singers in a church


can·​tor | \ ˈkan-tər How to pronounce cantor (audio) \

Kids Definition of cantor

: a synagogue official who sings religious music and leads the congregation in prayer

More from Merriam-Webster on cantor

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cantor

Nglish: Translation of cantor for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about cantor


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