Stories We Like: Novels For Language Lovers
late 14c., from Old French cane "reed, cane, spear" (13c., Modern French canne), from Latin canna "reed, cane," from Greek kanna, perhaps from Assyrian qanu "tube, reed" (cf. Hebrew qaneh, Arabic qanah "reed"), from Sumerian gin "reed." But Tucker finds this borrowing "needless" and proposes a native Indo-European formation from a root meaning "to bind, bend." Sense of "walking stick" in English is 1580s.
"to beat with a walking stick," 1660s, from cane (n.). Related: Caned; caning.
a tall sedgy plant with a hollow stem, growing in moist places. In Isa. 43:24; Jer. 6:20, the Hebrew word _kaneh_ is thus rendered, giving its name to the plant. It is rendered "reed" in 1 Kings 14:15; Job 40:21; Isa. 19:6; 35:7. In Ps. 68:30 the expression "company of spearmen" is in the margin and the Revised Version "beasts of the reeds," referring probably to the crocodile or the hippopotamus as a symbol of Egypt. In 2 Kings 18:21; Isa. 36:6; Ezek. 29:6, 7, the reference is to the weak, fragile nature of the reed. (See CALAMUS.)