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Saturday, March 08, 2014


Syllabification: cant
Pronunciation: /kant 


  • 1Hypocritical and sanctimonious talk, typically of a moral, religious, or political nature:the liberal case against all censorship is often cant
    • For cant, humbug and moral spinelessness, this took some beating.
    • It annoyed Flaubert mightily that purveyors of political cant should be greeted with more ballyhoo than gifted poets.
    • Most orthodox historians think that comments like these are mere hypocritical cant.
  • 2[AS MODIFIER] Denoting a phrase or catchword temporarily current or in fashion:they are misrepresented as, in the cant word of our day, uncaring
    • Such poets as these, and Lowell especially, gave rise to the critics' cant phrase, ‘confessional poetry’, which is seriously unhelpful.
    • There is, to be sure, room for adjustment to the GST tax base, most of which should take the form of ‘rollback’, to adopt the cant phrase of the day.
    • In literary conversations, he is only capable of repeating cant phrases and dropping names.
  • 2.1Language peculiar to a specified group or profession and regarded with disparagement:thieves' cant
    • The history of various families in Athy, their way of life, religion, superstition, Traveller cures and the Traveller language or cant are all documented.
    • Fagin, Sykes and Dodger use much more Dickensian language and pepper their sentences with thieves' cant.
    • Some were familiar with the culture of the London underworld, and thieves' cant became the ‘flash’ language of the barracks and factories.

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