1 can /kən/ /ˈkæn/ verb
past tense could /kəd/ /ˈkʊd/ present tense for both singular and plural can negative cannot /ˈkænɑt/ /kəˈnɑːt/ Brit /ˈkænət/ or can't /ˈkænt/ Brit /ˈkɑːnt/
1 can
/kən/ /ˈkæn/
past tense could /kəd/ /ˈkʊd/ present tense for both singular and plural can negative cannot /ˈkænɑt/ /kəˈnɑːt/ Brit /ˈkænət/ or can't /ˈkænt/ Brit /ˈkɑːnt/
Learner's definition of CAN
[modal verb]
: to be able to (do something)
: to know how to (do something) : to have the power or skill to (do something)
: to be designed to (do something)
sometimes used without a following verb
used to describe what someone sees, feels, thinks, etc.
used to say that something is or is not possible
sometimes used in the emphatic phrase as…as can be
used in speech to express surprise or disbelief
: to have permission to (do something)
compare may 4
used in speech to make a request or suggestion
compare may 3
used to say what should or should not be done
used in angry speech to tell someone to do something
used to describe the way a person sometimes behaves
used to describe something that sometimes or often happens
Usage Could is used as the past tense of can to describe an ability that someone had in the past or to say that something was possible in the past.
To describe a specific occurrence in the past, use was/were able to instead of could.
In the future tense, will be able to is used.
Can can be used to suggest something that might happen in the future.

no can do

informal + humorous
used in speech to say that you cannot do something that you have been asked or told to do
compare 3can
2 can /ˈkæn/ noun
plural cans
2 can
plural cans
Learner's definition of CAN
: a closed metal container that is usually shaped like a cylinder and that holds food or drink
: the food or drink that is in a can
: a metal or plastic container that has a removable top and that is used for holding liquid, trash, etc.

can of worms

: a complicated situation in which doing something to correct a problem leads to many more problems

carry the can

British, informal
: to accept blame or responsibility for something that you did not cause

in the can

of a film, recording, etc.
: completed and ready to be released

the can

US, informal
: the part of the body that you sit on : buttocks

— canful

/ˈkænˌfʊl/ noun, plural canfuls
3 can /ˈkæn/ verb
cans; canned; canning
3 can
cans; canned; canning
Learner's definition of CAN
[+ object]
chiefly US : to preserve food by putting it in a metal or glass container
US, informal : to dismiss (someone) from a job
US, informal : to stop or end (something)
see also canned

— canner

noun, plural canners [count]

— canning

noun [noncount]