AskDefine | Define cane

Dictionary Definition



1 a stick that people can lean on to help them walk
2 a strong slender often flexible stem as of bamboos, reeds, rattans, or sugar cane
3 a stiff switch used to hit students as punishment v : beat with a cane [syn: flog, lambaste, lambast]

User Contributed Dictionary



From cane, from canna, from κάννα, perhaps from Semitic (compare Hebrew קנה).


  • /keɪn/, /keIn/
  • Rhymes with: -eɪn



  1. The slender, flexible stem of plants such as bamboo, reed, or the like.
  2. The plant itself.
  3. sugar cane.
  4. A short wooden or bamboo rod or stick used for corporal punishment.
  5. (the cane; uncountable) Corporal punishment consisting of a beating with a cane.
    The teacher gave his student the cane for throwing paper.
  6. A strong short staff used for support during walking by the disabled or infirm.
    After breaking his leg, he needed to use a cane to walk.
  7. A long collapsible (and usually white for improved visibility) wooden, metal or plastic rod used by blind people to feel for obstacles in their path.


  • (slender flexible stem of plant such as bamboo):
  • (plant itself):
  • (sugar cane): sugar cane
  • (a short wooden or bamboo rod or stick used for corporal punishment): switch, rod
  • (corporal punishment consisting of a beating with a cane): a caning, six of the best
  • (strong short staff used for support during walking by the disabled or infirm): walking stick
  • (a long collapsible (and usually white for improved visibility) wooden, metal or plastic rod used by blind people to feel for obstacles in their path): walking stick


slender flexible stem of plants such as bamboo
plant itself
sugar cane
See sugar cane
a short wooden or bamboo rod or stick used for corporal punishment
the cane: corporal punishment consisting of a beating with a cane
strong short staff used for support during walking by the disabled or infirm
a long collapsible (and usually white for improved visibility) wooden, metal or plastic rod used by blind people to feel for obstacle|obstacles in their path


  1. In the context of "UK|slang": To strike or beat, notably with a cane or similar implement; to destroy.
  2. In the context of "UK|slang": To do something well, in a competent fashion.
derived from "to beat" in gaming circles where "to beat" indicates success.


to beat
Translations to be checked




From the anas, incremented with an initial "c".


fr-noun f
  1. duck (a female duck)

Related terms



From the canis (m), dog.


  • /ˈkane/


(feminine cagna)
  1. Dog in general, male dog.

See also

Extensive Definition

For similar words and other spellings and meanings, see Cane (disambiguation).
A cane is a long, straight wooden stick, generally of bamboo, Malacca (rattan) or some similar plant, mainly used as a support, such as a walking stick, or as an instrument of punishment. Depending on the use, it is left in its natural state or improved (e.g., smoothened, varnished).

Walking stick

Around the 17th or 18th century, the cane took over for the sword as an essential part of the European gentleman's wardrobe, used primarily as a walking stick. In addition to its value as a decorative accessory, the cane also continued to fulfill some of the function of the sword as a weapon. The standard cane was rattan (especially Malacca) with a rounded metal grip. The clouded cane, as in the quotation below, was made of Malacca and showed the patina of age:
Sir Plume, of amber snuff-box justly vain,
And the nice conduct of a clouded cane.
- Alexander Pope, The Rape of the Lock
Some canes had specially weighted metalwork. Other types of wood, such as hickory, are equally suitable.


Walking sticks started out as a necessary tool for the shepherd and traveler. A nice hefty stick was an excellent way to protect against thieves and to keep animals in line. Over time, the walking stick gradually began to be known as a symbol for power and strength, and eventually authority and social prestige. Rulers of many cultures, past and present, have carried some form of walking stick or staff. (See more at Ceremonial mace)
In the United States, presidents have often carried canes and received them as gifts. The Smithsonian has a cane given to George Washington by Ben Franklin. It features a gold handle in the shape of a Phrygian cap. In our time, walking sticks are usually only seen with formal attire. Collectors of canes look for the old, the new and the novel (such as canes made from the penes of bison or bulls). Retractable canes that reveal such properties as hidden compartments, pool sticks, or blades are popular among collectors. Handles have been made from many substances, both natural and manmade. Carved and decorated canes have turned the functional into the fantastic.
Some canes, known as "Tippling Canes," or "Tipplers," have hollowed-out compartments near the top where flasks or vials of alcohol could be hidden and sprung out on demand.
When used as a mobility or stability aide, canes are generally used in the hand opposite the injury or weakness. This may appear counter-intuitive, but this allows the cane to be used for stability in a way that lets the user shift much of their weight onto the cane and away from their weaker side as they walk. Personal preference, or a need to hold the cane in their dominant hand, means some cane users choose to hold the cane on their injured side.

Uses as verb

The verb to cane means to use a cane, but can also be a positive attribute applied to an action to imply enthusiasm e.g. "I caned it!" (both transitive) or be used intransitively in modern English slang to express causing pain (e.g. "Ah, that canes!")
Cane is sometimes used to describe furniture made of wicker.

Sources, references, external links

cane in Catalan: Bastó
cane in German: Rohrstock
cane in French: Canne (marche)
cane in Italian: Bastone
cane in Dutch: Cane
cane in Norwegian: Spanskrør
cane in Simple English: Cane

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Boston type, Braille, Malacca cane, New York point, Optacon, Pathsounder, Seeing Eye dog, Visotoner, advocate, aftergrass, alpenstock, anthrophore, arm, athletic supporter, axis, back, backbone, backing, bamboo, bandeau, baste, bastinado, baton, bearer, beat, belabor, belt, birch, bole, bra, brace, bracer, bracket, brassiere, buffet, buttress, carpophore, carrier, caudex, caulicle, caulis, cereal, cereal plant, cervix, club, corn, corset, cowhide, crook, crosier, cross, cross-staff, crutch, crutch-stick, cudgel, culm, cut, drub, embosser, farinaceous plant, ferule, flagellate, flail, flog, fog, footstalk, forage grass, foundation garment, fulcrum, funicule, funiculus, fustigate, girdle, give a whipping, give the stick, grain, graminaceous plant, grass, guide dog, guy, guywire, handstaff, haulm, high-speed embosser, horsewhip, jock, jockstrap, knout, lace, lash, lawn grass, lay on, leafstalk, line letter, lituus, mainstay, maintainer, mast, neck, noctograph, optophone, ornamental grass, paddle, pandybat, pastoral staff, paterissa, pedicel, peduncle, personal sonar, petiole, petiolule, petiolus, pistol-whip, pommel, prop, pummel, quarterstaff, rattan, rawhide, reed, reinforce, reinforcement, reinforcer, rest, resting place, rigging, rod, ruler, scourge, seedstalk, sensory aid, shillelagh, shoulder, shroud, sight-saver type, smite, spank, spear, spine, spire, sprit, staff, stalk, standing rigging, stave, stay, stem, stick, stiffener, stipe, stock, strap, straw, strengthener, string alphabet, stripe, support, supporter, sustainer, swagger stick, swanking stick, swinge, switch, talking book, thrash, thump, tigella, trounce, truncheon, trunk, ultrasonic spectacles, upholder, visagraph, walking stick, wallop, whale, whip, whop, writing frame, writing stamps
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