can


From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

May \May\ (m[=a]), v. [imp. Might (m[imac]t)] [AS. pres. maeg
   I am able, pret. meahte, mihte; akin to D. mogen, G.
   m["o]gen, OHG. mugan, magan, Icel. mega, Goth. magan, Russ.
   moche. [root]103. Cf. Dismay, Main strength, Might. The
   old imp. mought is obsolete, except as a provincial word.]
   An auxiliary verb qualifying the meaning of another verb, by
   expressing:
   (a) Ability, competency, or possibility; -- now oftener
       expressed by can.
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             How may a man, said he, with idle speech,
             Be won to spoil the castle of his health!
                                                  --Spenser.
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             For what he [the king] may do is of two kinds; what
             he may do as just, and what he may do as possible.
                                                  --Bacon.
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             For of all sad words of tongue or pen
             The saddest are these: "It might have been."
                                                  --Whittier.
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   (b) Liberty; permission; allowance.
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             Thou mayst be no longer steward.     --Luke xvi. 2.
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   (c) Contingency or liability; possibility or probability.
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             Though what he learns he speaks, and may advance
             Some general maxims, or be right by chance. --Pope.
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   (d) Modesty, courtesy, or concession, or a desire to soften a
       question or remark.
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             How old may Phillis be, you ask.     --Prior.
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   (e) Desire or wish, as in prayer, imprecation, benediction,
       and the like. "May you live happily." --Dryden.
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   May be, & It may be, are used as equivalent to
      possibly, perhaps, maybe, by chance,
      peradventure. See 1st Maybe.
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.

From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Can \Can\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Canned; p. pr. & vb. n.
   Canning.]
   To preserve by putting in sealed cans [U. S.] "Canned meats"
   --W. D. Howells.
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   Canned goods, a general name for fruit, vegetables, meat,
      or fish, preserved in hermetically sealed cans.
.

From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Can \Can\, v. t. & i.

   Note: [The transitive use is obsolete.] [imp. Could.] [OE.
         cunnen, cannen (1st sing. pres. I can), to know, know
         how, be able, AS. cunnan, 1st sing. pres. ic cann or
         can, pl. cunnon, 1st sing. imp. c[=u][eth]e (for
         cun[eth]e); p. p. c[=u][eth] (for cun[eth]); akin to
         OS. Kunnan, D. Kunnen, OHG. chunnan, G. k["o]nnen,
         Icel. kunna, Goth. Kunnan, and E. ken to know. The
         present tense I can (AS. ic cann) was originally a
         preterit, meaning I have known or Learned, and hence I
         know, know how. [root]45. See Ken, Know; cf. Con,
         Cunning, Uncouth.]
   1. To know; to understand. [Obs.]
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            I can rimes of Robin Hood.            --Piers
                                                  Plowman.
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            I can no Latin, quod she.             --Piers
                                                  Plowman.
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            Let the priest in surplice white,
            That defunctive music can.            --Shak.
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   2. To be able to do; to have power or influence. [Obs.]
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            The will of Him who all things can.   --Milton.
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            For what, alas, can these my single arms? --Shak.
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            M[ae]c[ae]nas and Agrippa, who can most with
            C[ae]sar.                             --Beau. & Fl.
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   3. 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.
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              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.
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              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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.

From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Can \Can\ (k[a^]n),
   an obs. form of began, imp. & p. p. of Begin, sometimes
   used in old poetry.

   Note: [See Gan.]
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               With gentle words he can faile gree. --Spenser.
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.

From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Can \Can\, n. [OE. & AS. canne; akin to D. Kan, G. Kanne, OHG.
   channa, Sw. Kanna, Dan. kande.]
   1. A drinking cup; a vessel for holding liquids. --[Shak. ]
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            Fill the cup and fill can,
            Have a rouse before the morn.         --Tennyson.
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   2. 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.
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   Note: 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.
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