could; cannot; cans; canning; canned

A can is a metal container, usually cylindrical in shape, which has an airtight seal when it's new. All kinds of goods come in cans, from fruit and vegetables to paint and oil.

The verb can means to preserve food in a can or glass jar. If your garden produces more tomatoes than you can possibly eat, you might make salsa and can it to eat all winter long. Can is also a slang word with several meanings. It means rear end, toilet, and it also means to fire someone: "Watch out, the boss canned three people yesterday! You could be next."

Definitions of can
  1. noun
    airtight sealed metal container for food or drink or paint etc.
    synonyms: tin, tin can
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    beer can
    a can that holds beer
    caddy, tea caddy
    a can for storing tea
    a small can
    coffee can
    a can for storing ground coffee
    milk can
    large can for transporting milk
    a can with a long nozzle to apply oil to machinery
    soda can
    a can for holding soft drinks
    type of:
    any object that can be used to hold things (especially a large metal boxlike object of standardized dimensions that can be loaded from one form of transport to another)
  2. noun
    the quantity contained in a can
    synonyms: canful
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    type of:
    the quantity that a container will hold
  3. verb
    preserve in a can or tin
    synonyms: put up, tin
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    type of:
    keep, preserve
    prevent (food) from rotting
  4. verb
    terminate the employment of; discharge from an office or position
    synonyms: dismiss, displace, fire, force out, give notice, give the axe, give the sack, sack, send away, terminate
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    employ, engage, hire
    engage or hire for work
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    make (someone) retire
    pension off
    let go from employment with an attractive pension
    clean out
    force out
    furlough, lay off
    dismiss, usually for economic reasons
    squeeze out
    force out
    dismiss, drop, send away, send packing
    stop associating with
    retire and pension (someone) because of age or physical inability
    dismiss from work
    type of:
    remove from a position or an office
  5. noun
    a buoy with a round bottom and conical top
    synonyms: can buoy
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    type of:
    bright-colored; a float attached by rope to the seabed to mark channels in a harbor or underwater hazards
  6. noun
    the fleshy part of the human body that you sit on
    synonyms: ass, backside, behind, bottom, bum, buns, butt, buttocks, derriere, fanny, fundament, hind end, hindquarters, keister, nates, posterior, prat, rear, rear end, rump, seat, stern, tail, tail end, tooshie, tush
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    type of:
    body part
    any part of an organism such as an organ or extremity
  7. noun
    a plumbing fixture for defecation and urination
    synonyms: commode, pot, potty, stool, throne, toilet
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    flushless toilet
    a toilet that relies on bacteria to break down waste matter (instead of using water)
    flush toilet, lavatory
    a toilet that is cleaned of waste by the flow of water through it
    potty chair, potty seat
    toilet consisting of a small seat used by young children
    type of:
    plumbing fixture
    a fixture for the distribution and use of water in a building
  8. noun
    a room or building equipped with one or more toilets
    synonyms: bathroom, john, lav, lavatory, privy, toilet
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    (nautical) a toilet on board a boat or ship
    comfort station, convenience, public convenience, public lavatory, public toilet, restroom, toilet facility, wash room
    a toilet that is available to the public
    a lavatory (particularly a lavatory in a public place)
    W.C., closet, loo, water closet
    a toilet in Britain
    ladies' room, powder room
    a woman's restroom in a public (or semipublic) building
    a public toilet in a military area
    men's, men's room
    a public toilet for men
    type of:
    an area within a building enclosed by walls and floor and ceiling
DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘can'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
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