To canter is to ride a horse at a speed between a trot and a gallop. When canter is a noun, it is a ride on a horse at that pace and so you can say to a friend, "Come with us for a canter!"

As a verb, canter means to ride at the pace of a canter, which is a pretty easy rate of speed. In fact, the word comes from the phrase "Canterbury gallop" because in the Middle Ages people used to travel to the cathedral in Canterbury, England to visit the tomb of St. Thomas Becket. It was so popular an activity that the pace of the horses that the pilgrims rode on became known as the "Canterbury gallop" and the phrase was so commonly used that it was eventually shortened to canter.

Definitions of canter

n a smooth three-beat gait; between a trot and a gallop

Type of:
a horse's manner of moving

v ride at a canter

“The men cantered away”
Type of:
ride horseback
ride on horseback

v go at a canter, of horses

Type of:
go at a pace

v ride at a cantering pace

“He cantered the horse across the meadow”
Type of:
ride, sit
sit and travel on the back of animal, usually while controlling its motions

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