can·​tor | \ˈkan-tər \

Definition of cantor 

1 : a choir leader : precentor

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

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Other Words from cantor

cantorial \kan-​ˈtȯr-​ē-​əl \ adjective

Did You Know?

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

While many rail against the administration’s policies from the pulpit and in the streets — rabbis and cantors have a prominent role in another protest planned for Monday in San Diego — others back tougher restrictions at the borders. Peter Rowe,, "Bordering on faith: San Diego spiritual leaders wrestle with the morality of immigration," 1 July 2018 Cantor Udi and his wife Varda Spielman of B'nai Torah Congregation joins cantors Colin Schachat of Israel, Azi Schwartz of New York City and Gideon Zelermyer of Montreal in singing the songs heard at the Passover seder in concert. Marvin Glassman, Jewish Journal, "Pesach Extravaganza to head South Florida concert offerings," 16 Feb. 2018 John Glass bowed his head as the cantor’s melody echoed through the cemetery in prayer for the children buried beneath the grassy-green surface. Emanuella Grinberg, Smithsonian, "When a Bavarian Monastery Provided a Home to Jewish Refugees," 11 July 2018 Among those heeding this call: 20 rabbis and cantors from Chicago, Minneapolis, Seattle and other cities. Peter Rowe,, "Bordering on faith: San Diego spiritual leaders wrestle with the morality of immigration," 1 July 2018 Manxs, Muitos de vocês não sabem quem sou, mas deixa eu me apresentar: sou um cantor gay e também uma drag queen em um país extremamente preconceituoso, o Brasil. Pabllo Vittar, Billboard, "Pabllo Vittar: Love Letter to the LGBTQ Community," 26 June 2018 Irving Berlin arrived in New York at age 5 as Israel Baline, the son of a cantor fleeing persecution of the Jews of Russia. Julie Zauzmer, Washington Post, "The surprising history of “God Bless America,” the patriotic hymn Trump might have forgotten," 6 June 2018 Rabbis, cantors, Jewish educators, college professors, lawyers and community leaders will lead breakout study sessions throughout the evening and early morning. Jeff Piorkowski/special To,, "Shaker Heights Moreland design winners named; Maltz essay contest winners announced; more: Press Run," 4 May 2018 Mark Levi, a Holocaust survivor who later led Jewish liturgical music and prayers as a cantor in several synagogues, died Dec. 28 at a nursing home in Gaithersburg, Md. Washington Post, "Mark Levi, who led Jewish liturgical music and prayers as a cantor, dies at 103," 10 Mar. 2018

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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Time Traveler for cantor

The first known use of cantor was in 1538

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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 \

Kids Definition of cantor

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on cantor

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cantor

Spanish Central: Translation of cantor

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

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to enclose within walls

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