follow Dictionary.com

11 Trending Words of 2014

canto

[kan-toh] /ˈkæn toʊ/
noun, plural cantos.
1.
one of the main or larger divisions of a long poem.
Origin
1580-1590
1580-90; < Italian < Latin cant(us) singing, song, equivalent to can(ere) to sing + -tus suffix of v. action; cf. cant1, chant
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
British Dictionary definitions for canto

canto

/ˈkæntəʊ/
noun (pl) -tos
1.
(music) another word for cantus (sense 2)
2.
a main division of a long poem
Word Origin
C16: from Italian: song, from Latin cantus, from canere to sing
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for canto
n.

1580s, from Italian canto "song," from Latin cantus "song" (see chant (v.)). As "a section of a long poem," used in Italian by Dante, in English first by Spenser.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for canto

canto

noun

A round, inning, period, or other division of a contest: Lefty got decked in the third canto

[1910+ Sports; fr Italian, ''song,'' with reference to the 100 poetic divisions of Dante's Divina commedia]


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Article for canto

major division of an epic or other long narrative poem. An Italian term, derived from the Latin cantus ("song"), it probably originally indicated a portion of a poem that could be sung or chanted by a minstrel at one sitting. Though early oral epics, such as Homer's, are divided into discrete sections, the name canto was first adopted for these divisions by the Italian poets Dante, Matteo Boiardo, and Ludovico Ariosto. The first long English poem to be divided into cantos was Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene (1590-1609). Lord Byron structured his long poems Childe Harold's Pilgrimage (1812) and Don Juan (1819-24) in cantos. An ambitious, unfinished epic by the American poet Ezra Pound is known simply as The Cantos

Learn more about canto with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for canto

Many English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for canto

7
9
Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with canto

Nearby words for canto