[kan-ot, ka-not, kuh-]
a form of ·can not.
cannot but, have no alternative but to: We cannot but choose otherwise.

1350–1400; Middle English

Cannot is sometimes also spelled can not. The one-word spelling is by far the more common: Interest rates simply cannot continue at their present level. The contraction can't is most common in speech and informal writing. See also can1. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
cannot (ˈkænɒt, kæˈnɒt)
an auxiliary verb expressing incapacity, inability, withholding permission, etc; can not

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

c.1400, from can (v.) + not. O.E. expressed the notion by ne cunnan.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


see under can't.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
Germans have learned after decades of fighting their expression that the ideas
  behind them cannot be outlawed.
Student life needs certain autonomy and cannot be organized educationally as
  strictly accountable activities.
So they can consume many of the long-lived radioactive materials that thermal
  reactors cannot.
Though they cannot fly, ostriches are fleet, strong runners.
Idioms & Phrases
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