can-can

cancan

[kan-kan]
noun
a lively high kicking dance that came into vogue about 1830 in Paris and after 1844 was used as an exhibition dance.

Origin:
1840–50; < French, repetitive compound (based on can) said to be nursery variant of canard duck; see canard

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World English Dictionary
cancan (ˈkænˌkæn)
 
n
a high-kicking dance performed by a female chorus, originating in the music halls of 19th-century Paris
 
[C19: from French, of uncertain origin]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

can-can
also cancan, 1848, from Fr., possibly from can, the Fr. child word for "duck" (cf. canard), via some notion of "waddling" too obscure or obscene to attempt to disentangle here. Or perhaps from Fr. cancan (16c.) "noise, disturbance," echoic of quacking.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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