cancan

noun

can·​can ˈkan-ˌkan How to pronounce cancan (audio)
: a woman's dance of French origin characterized by high kicking usually while holding up the front of a full ruffled skirt

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web With dizzying dances — encompassing music hall, ballet, hip-hop and, of course, the cancan — by Otto Pichler, the show is frantic and fabulous, a brilliant curatorial move on Mr. Hinterhäuser’s part. Zachary Woolfe, New York Times, 16 Aug. 2019 Standard period fare like the cancan (bien sûr) and La Danse Apache is reinterpreted with electric wit. Ben Brantley, New York Times, 25 July 2019 Some mantises evolved to look like showy blossoms, a cancan of deadly come-ons. Natalie Angier, New York Times, 22 Sep. 2017 Friday night at 8:30 p.m., 9:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Live entertainment at four stages ranges from Madame Gigi's Outrageous French CanCans to Milwaukee area singer-songwriters Claire Kelly and Ryan McIntyre. Sarah Hauer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 12 July 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cancan.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

French

First Known Use

1830, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of cancan was in 1830

Dictionary Entries Near cancan

Cite this Entry

“Cancan.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cancan. Accessed 8 Feb. 2023.

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