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In my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government ought to be instructed... No truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people.
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1828 Noah Webster Dictionary
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1828.mshaffer.comWord [can]

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can

CAN, n. A cup or vessel for liquors, in modern times made of metal; as a can of ale.

CAN, v.i. pret. could, which is from another root. [See Could.]

1. To be able; to have sufficient strength or physical power. One man can lift a weight which another can not. A horse can run a certain distance in a given time.

2. To have means, or instruments, which supply power or ability. A man can build a house, or fit out a ship, if he has the requisite property. A nation cannot prosecute a war, without money or credit. I will lend you a thousand dollars, if I can.

3. To be possible.

Nicodemus said, How can these thing be? John 3.

4. To have adequate moral power. A man can indulge in pleasure, or he can refrain. He can restrain his appetites, if he will.

5. To have just or legal competent power, that is, right; to be free from any restraint of moral, civil or political obligation, or from any positive prohibition. We can use a highway for travel, for this is permitted by law. A man can or cannot hold an office. The Jews could not eat certain kinds of animals which were declared to be unclean. The House of Commons in England can impeach, but the House of Lords only can try impeachments. In general, we can do whatever neither the laws of God nor of man forbid.

How can I do this great wickedness and sin against God. Gen. 34.

I cannot go beyond the word of the Lord, my God, to do less or more. Numb. 22.

6. To have natural strength, or capacity; to be susceptible of; to be able or free to undergo any change, or produce any effect, by the laws and constitution of nature, or by divine appointment. Silver can be melted, but cannot be changed into gold.

Can the rush grow without mire? Job 8.

Can the fig tree bear olive berries? James 3.

Can faith save him? James 2.

7. To have competent strength, ability, fortitude, patience, &c., in a passive sense. He cannot bear reproof. I cannot endure this impertinence.

This is a hard saying; who can hear it? John 6.

8. To have the requisite knowledge, experience or skill. Young men are not admitted members of college, till they can translate Latin and Greek. An astronomer can calculate an eclipse, though he can not make a coat.

9. To have strength of inclination or motives sufficient to overcome obstacles, impediments, inconvenience or other objection.

I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. Luke 9.

I cannot rise and give thee - yet because of him importunity, he will rise and give him. Luke 9.

10. To have sufficient capacity; as, a vessel can not hold or contain the whole quantity.

CAN, v.t. To know.




Evolution (or devolution) of this word [can]

1828 Webster1844 Webster1913 Webster

CAN, n. A cup or vessel for liquors, in modern times made of metal; as a can of ale.

CAN, v.i. pret. could, which is from another root. [See Could.]

1. To be able; to have sufficient strength or physical power. One man can lift a weight which another can not. A horse can run a certain distance in a given time.

2. To have means, or instruments, which supply power or ability. A man can build a house, or fit out a ship, if he has the requisite property. A nation cannot prosecute a war, without money or credit. I will lend you a thousand dollars, if I can.

3. To be possible.

Nicodemus said, How can these thing be? John 3.

4. To have adequate moral power. A man can indulge in pleasure, or he can refrain. He can restrain his appetites, if he will.

5. To have just or legal competent power, that is, right; to be free from any restraint of moral, civil or political obligation, or from any positive prohibition. We can use a highway for travel, for this is permitted by law. A man can or cannot hold an office. The Jews could not eat certain kinds of animals which were declared to be unclean. The House of Commons in England can impeach, but the House of Lords only can try impeachments. In general, we can do whatever neither the laws of God nor of man forbid.

How can I do this great wickedness and sin against God. Gen. 34.

I cannot go beyond the word of the Lord, my God, to do less or more. Numb. 22.

6. To have natural strength, or capacity; to be susceptible of; to be able or free to undergo any change, or produce any effect, by the laws and constitution of nature, or by divine appointment. Silver can be melted, but cannot be changed into gold.

Can the rush grow without mire? Job 8.

Can the fig tree bear olive berries? James 3.

Can faith save him? James 2.

7. To have competent strength, ability, fortitude, patience, &c., in a passive sense. He cannot bear reproof. I cannot endure this impertinence.

This is a hard saying; who can hear it? John 6.

8. To have the requisite knowledge, experience or skill. Young men are not admitted members of college, till they can translate Latin and Greek. An astronomer can calculate an eclipse, though he can not make a coat.

9. To have strength of inclination or motives sufficient to overcome obstacles, impediments, inconvenience or other objection.

I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. Luke 9.

I cannot rise and give thee - yet because of him importunity, he will rise and give him. Luke 9.

10. To have sufficient capacity; as, a vessel can not hold or contain the whole quantity.

CAN, v.t. To know.


CAN, v.t.

To know. [Not in use.] – Spenser.


CAN, n. [D. kan; Sax. canna; G. kanne; Dan. kande; Sw. kanna; Corn. hannath; Sans. kundha; probably from holding, containing; W. cannu or ganu, to contain, gan, capacity, a mortise; Eng. gain, in carpentry. Hence, W. cant, a circle, a hoop, a fence round a yard, a hundred; L. centum; Teut. hund, in hundred. See Cent and Hundred, and Can, infra.]

A cup or vessel for liquors, in modern times made of metal; as, a can of ale.


CAN, v.i. [pret. could, which is from another root. See Could. Can is from the Sax. cennan, to know, to bear or produce; Goth. kunnan; Sax. cunnan, to know, to be able; cunnian, to try, to attempt, to prove; cind, cyn, gecynd, kind; L. genus; D. kunnen to know, to understand, to hold, to contain, to be able, like the Fr. savoir; Dan. kan, to be able; kiender, to know; Sw. känna, to know; kunna, to be able; G. kennen, to know; können, to be able. Hence cunning, that is, knowing, skillful, experienced; G. können, a being able, ability, knowledge; kund, public; kunde, knowledge, acquaintance. The Teutonic and Gothic words unite with the Greek γενναω, to beget, as a male, and to bear, as a female, which is connected with γινομαι, to be born or produced. Can, cennan, and γενναω, are probably the same word; and the Sax. ginnan, in the compounds aginnan, beginnan, onginnan, to begin, is from the same root. The primary sense is, to strain, to stretch, to urge or thrust with force, which gives the sense of producing, and of holding, containing, which is the primary sense of knowing, comprehending; and straining gives the sense of power. The Sax. cunnian, to try, is to strain. See Ken. Ar. كَانَ kauna, to be, the substantive verb; also, to become, to be made, to endure; also, to create, to generate, to form; قَنِنَ kanina, to know; Heb. and Ch. כון, to fit or prepare, to form or fashion; whence right, fit; as we have right; Sax. reht; L. rectus, from rego, to rule, that is, to strain, stretch, make straight; Syr. ܟܢ‎ kan, to begin to be, and its derivatives, to plant or establish, to create, to be prepared; Eth. ከወነ kun, to be, to become, to be made; Ch. and Sam. as the Hebrew. See Class Gn, No. 29. 38, and 58, 42, 45, &c. Can, in English is treated as an auxiliary verb, the sign of the infinitive being omitted, as in the phrases, I can go, instead of, I can to go; thou canst go; he can go.]

  1. To be able; to have sufficient strength or physical power. One man can lift a weight which another can not. A horse can run a certain distance in a given time.
  2. To have means, or instruments, which supply power or ability. A man can build a house, or fit out a ship, if he has the requisite property. A nation can not prosecute a war, without money or credit. I will lend you a thousand dollars if I can.
  3. To be possible. Nicodemus said, How can these things be? – John iii.
  4. To have adequate moral power. A man can indulge in pleasure, or he can refrain. He can restrain his appetites, if he will.
  5. To have just or legal competent power, that is right; to be free from any restraint of moral, civil or political obligation, or from any positive prohibition. We can use a highway for travel, for this is permitted by law. A man can or can not hold an office. The Jews could not eat certain kinds of animals which were declared to be unclean. The House of Commons in England can impeach, but the House of Lords only can try impeachments. In general, we can do whatever neither the laws of God nor of man forbid. How can I do this great wickedness and sin against God. – Gen. xxxix. I can not go beyond the word of the Lord my God, to do less or more. – Num. xxii.
  6. To have natural strength, or capacity; to be susceptible of; to be able or free to undergo any change, or produce any effect, by the laws and constitution of nature, or by divine appointment. Silver can be melted, but can not be changed into gold. Can the rush grow without mire? – Job viii. Can the fig-tree bear olive berries? – James iii. Can faith save him? – James ii.
  7. To have competent strength, ability, fortitude, patience, &c., in a passive sense. He can not bear reproof. I can not endure this impertinence. This is a hard saying; who can hear it. – John vi.
  8. To have the requisite knowledge, experience or skill. Young men are not admitted members of college, till they can translate Latin and Greek. An astronomer can calculate an eclipse, though he can not make a coat.
  9. To have strength of inclination or motives sufficient to overcome obstacles, impediments, inconvenience or other objection. I have married a wife, and therefore I can not come. – Luke xiv. I can not rise and give thee … yet because of his importunity, he will rise and give him. – Luke xi.
  10. To have sufficient capacity; as, a vessel can not hold or contain the whole quantity.

Can
  1. an obs. form of began, imp. *** p. p. of Begin, sometimes used in old poetry. [See Gan.]

    With gentle words he can faile gree.
    Spenser.

  2. A drinking cup; a vessel for holding liquids.

    [Shak. ]

    Fill the cup and fill can,
    Have a rouse before the morn.
    Tennyson.

  3. To preserve by putting in sealed cans

    [U. S.] "Canned meats" W. D. Howells.

    Canned goods, a general name for fruit, vegetables, meat, or fish, preserved in hermetically sealed cans.

  4. To know; to understand.

    [Obs.]

    I can rimes of Rodin Hood.
    Piers Plowman.

    I can no Latin, quod she.
    Piers Plowman.

    Let the priest in surplice white,
    That defunctive music can.
    Shak.

  5. A vessel or case of tinned iron or of sheet metal, of various forms, but usually cylindrical; as, a can of tomatoes; an oil can; a milk can.

    * A can may be a cylinder open at the top, as for receiving the sliver from a carding machine, or with a removable cover or stopper, as for holding tea, spices, milk, oysters, etc., or with handle and spout, as for holding oil, or hermetically sealed, in canning meats, fruits, etc. The name is also sometimes given to the small glass or earthenware jar used in canning.

  6. To be able to do; to have power or influence.

    [Obs.]

    The will of Him who all things can.
    Milton.

    For what, alas, can these my single arms?
    Shak.

    Mæcænas and Agrippa, who can most with Cæsar.
    Beau. *** Fl.

  7. To be able] -- followed by an infinitive without to; as, I can go, but do not wish to.

    Syn. -- Can but, Can not but. It is an error to use the former of these phrases where the sens requires the latter. If we say, "I can but perish if I go," "But" means only, and denotes that this is all or the worst that can happen. When the apostle Peter said. "We can not but speak of the things which we have seen and heard." he referred to a moral constraint or necessety which rested upon him and his associates; and the meaning was, We cannot help speaking, We cannot refrain from speaking. This idea of a moral necessity or constraint is of frequent occurrence, and is also expressed in the phrase, "I can not help it." Thus we say. "I can not but hope," "I can not but believe," "I can not but think," "I can not but remark," etc., in cases in which it would be an error to use the phrase can but.

    Yet he could not but acknowledge to himself that there was something calculated to impress awe, . . . in the sudden appearances and vanishings . . . of the masque
    De Quincey.

    Tom felt that this was a rebuff for him, and could not but understand it as a left-handed hit at his employer.
    Dickens.

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Can

CAN, noun A cup or vessel for liquors, in modern times made of metal; as a can of ale.

CAN, verb intransitive preterit tense could, which is from another root. [See Could.]

1. To be able; to have sufficient strength or physical power. One man can lift a weight which another can not. A horse can run a certain distance in a given time.

2. To have means, or instruments, which supply power or ability. A man can build a house, or fit out a ship, if he has the requisite property. A nation cannot prosecute a war, without money or credit. I will lend you a thousand dollars, if I can

3. To be possible.

Nicodemus said, How can these thing be? John 3:2.

4. To have adequate moral power. A man can indulge in pleasure, or he can refrain. He can restrain his appetites, if he will.

5. To have just or legal competent power, that is, right; to be free from any restraint of moral, civil or political obligation, or from any positive prohibition. We can use a highway for travel, for this is permitted by law. A man can or cannot hold an office. The Jews could not eat certain kinds of animals which were declared to be unclean. The House of Commons in England can impeach, but the House of Lords only can try impeachments. In general, we can do whatever neither the laws of God nor of man forbid.

How can I do this great wickedness and sin against God. Genesis 34:1.

I cannot go beyond the word of the Lord, my God, to do less or more. Numbers 22:1.

6. To have natural strength, or capacity; to be susceptible of; to be able or free to undergo any change, or produce any effect, by the laws and constitution of nature, or by divine appointment. Silver can be melted, but cannot be changed into gold.

CAN the rush grow without mire? Job 8:11.

CAN the fig tree bear olive berries? James 3:8.

CAN faith save him? James 2:14.

7. To have competent strength, ability, fortitude, patience, etc., in a passive sense. He cannot bear reproof. I cannot endure this impertinence.

This is a hard saying; who can hear it? John 6:44.

8. To have the requisite knowledge, experience or skill. Young men are not admitted members of college, till they can translate Latin and Greek. An astronomer can calculate an eclipse, though he can not make a coat.

9. To have strength of inclination or motives sufficient to overcome obstacles, impediments, inconvenience or other objection.

I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. Luke 9:1.

I cannot rise and give thee - yet because of him importunity, he will rise and give him. Luke 9:1.

10. To have sufficient capacity; as, a vessel can not hold or contain the whole quantity.

CAN, verb transitive To know.

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I like the Biblical root definition of the words and the Scriptural examples. I believe Webster's 1828 has the truest etymological root meaning of words.

— Sheila (Auburn, GA)

Word of the Day

importance

IMPORT'ANCE, n.

1. Weight; consequence; a bearing on some interest; that quality of any thing by which it may affect a measure, interest or result. The education of youth is of great importance to a free government. A religious education is of infinite importance to every human being.

2. Weight or consequence in the scale of being.

Thy own importance know.

Nor bound thy narrow views to things below.

3. Weight or consequence in self-estimation.

He believes himself a man of importance.

4. Thing implied; matter; subject; importunity. [In these senses, obsolete.]

Random Word

prelatist

PRE'LATIST, n. [form prelate.] An advocate for prelacy or the government of the church by bishops; a high churchman.

I am an episcopalian, but not a prelatist.

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