chi·​cane | \ shi-ˈkān How to pronounce chicane (audio) , chi-\
chicaned; chicaning

Definition of chicane

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to use chicanery a wretch he had taught to lie and chicane— George Meredith



Definition of chicane (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : chicanery
2a : an obstacle on a racecourse
b : a series of tight turns in opposite directions in an otherwise straight stretch of a road-racing course
3 : the absence of trumps in a hand of cards

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Did You Know?


There's no mystery about the origins of chicane. It's from the Middle French verb chicaner, meaning "to quibble" or "to prevent justice," and print evidence of its use as a verb in English dates to around 1672. The noun form of chicane was first used in print in 1686. In addition to referring to "trickery," the noun chicane is used to refer to an obstacle or a series of tight turns in opposite directions on a racecourse. In card games, chicane refers to the absence of trumps in a hand of cards. One curiosity of this word set is that the word that would appear to be a derivative of chicane-chicanery (a synonym of chicane in its "trickery" sense)-actually appeared in English over 60 years before chicane.

Examples of chicane in a Sentence


a lawyer who is so notorious for chicaning that the guilty invariably seek his services


most get-rich-quick schemes involve more than a smidgen of chicane

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Drivers were rolling through the chicane area across rumble strips, in effect shortening the distance and generally maintaining high speeds. Mike Hembree, USA TODAY, "Charlotte Motor Speedway's 'roval' course remains a mystery after testing," 10 July 2018 Monza is one of the oldest tracks still used today and demands precise timing of every input, especially when racing the layout with chicanes. Austin Irwin, Car and Driver, "Keep It 1.11: Gran Turismo Sport Expands with New Update," 5 Feb. 2018 The Frenchman had a 16-point advantage going into the season's penultimate race and led the Japanese GP with six laps to go when Senna, desperate for the win, dived down the inside at the Casio Triangle chicane. Matt Knight, CNN, "Japanese GP: F1's most dramatic Suzuka showdowns," 6 Oct. 2017 The best test of the car's agility was through the Up Hill chicane. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "Audi Sport’s RS3 and TT-RS: The same engine but very different cars," 17 Sep. 2017 Sculpted rear fenders and Jaguar’s new chicane graphics visible on the lower door panels and within the rear taillamps accentuate the design. Eric Stafford, Car and Driver, "2018 Jaguar E-Pace: Designed to Cross Over," 13 July 2017 Pick your struggles in traffic and avoid the perception of being a rolling chicane. Joe Michaud,, "Kawasaki Z125 Pro: Miniaturized street bike packs unintimidating fun," 8 June 2017 For a look at a clean run—even with the speed-mitigating chicane in place—watch the video below, in which Subaru’s event manager, Ian Dobson (who rallies a classic Ford Escort in his spare time), threads the STI up the hill: Alexander Stoklosa, Car and Driver, "We Drive the Fastest, Most Challenging Driveway: Goodwood’s Hill-Climb! [Video]," 5 July 2017

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


circa 1672, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense


1686, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for chicane


French chicaner, from Middle French, to quibble, prevent justice

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The first known use of chicane was circa 1672

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