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[kan-ter, -tawr] /ˈkæn tər, -tɔr/
the religious official of a synagogue who conducts the liturgical portion of a service and sings or chants the prayers and parts of prayers designed to be performed as solos.
an official whose duty is to lead the singing in a cathedral or in a collegiate or parish church; a precentor.
1530-40; < Latin: singer, equivalent to can(ere) to sing + -tor -tor
Can be confused
canter, cantor.


[kan-ter; for 2 also German kahn-tawr] /ˈkæn tər; for 2 also German ˈkɑn tɔr/
Eddie (Edward Israel Iskovitz) 1892–1964, U.S. singer and entertainer.
[gey-awrk] /geɪˈɔrk/ (Show IPA),
1845–1918, German mathematician, born in Russia. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for cantor
  • This article is on the bagpipe part for the musical office, see cantor.
British Dictionary definitions for cantor


(Judaism) Also called chazan. a man employed to lead synagogue services, esp to traditional modes and melodies
(Christianity) the leader of the singing in a church choir
Word Origin
C16: from Latin: singer, 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
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Word Origin and History for cantor
1538, "church song-leader," from L. cantor "singer, poet, actor," agent noun of canere "to sing" (see chant). Applied to the Hebrew chazan from 1893.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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cantor in Technology

1. A mathematician.
Cantor devised the diagonal proof of the uncountability of the real numbers:
Given a function, f, from the natural numbers to the real numbers, consider the real number r whose binary expansion is given as follows: for each natural number i, r's i-th digit is the complement of the i-th digit of f(i).
Thus, since r and f(i) differ in their i-th digits, r differs from any value taken by f. Therefore, f is not surjective (there are values of its result type which it cannot return).
Consequently, no function from the natural numbers to the reals is surjective. A further theorem dependent on the axiom of choice turns this result into the statement that the reals are uncountable.
This is just a special case of a diagonal proof that a function from a set to its power set cannot be surjective:
Let f be a function from a set S to its power set, P(S) and let U = x in S: x not in f(x) . Now, observe that any x in U is not in f(x), so U != f(x); and any x not in U is in f(x), so U != f(x): whence U is not in f(x) : x in S . But U is in P(S). Therefore, no function from a set to its power-set can be surjective.
2. An object-oriented language with fine-grained concurrency.
[Athas, Caltech 1987. "Multicomputers: Message Passing Concurrent Computers", W. Athas et al, Computer 21(8):9-24 (Aug 1988)].
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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