canto

canto

[kan-toh]
noun, plural cantos.
one of the main or larger divisions of a long poem.

Origin:
1580–90; < Italian < Latin cant(us) singing, song, equivalent to can(ere) to sing + -tus suffix of v. action; cf. cant1, chant

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World English Dictionary
canto (ˈkæntəʊ)
 
n , pl -tos
1.  music another word for cantus
2.  a main division of a long poem
 
[C16: from Italian: song, from Latin cantus, from canere to sing]

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

canto
1580s, from L. cantus "song" (see chant). As "a section of a long poem," used in Italian by Dante, in English first by Spenser.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

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

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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