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.
2.
an official whose duty is to lead the singing in a cathedral or in a collegiate or parish church; a precentor.
Origin
1530-1540
1530-40; < Latin: singer, equivalent to can(ere) to sing + -tor-tor
1530s, "church song-leader," from Latin cantor "singer, poet, actor," agent noun from past participle stem of canere "to sing" (see chant (v.)). Applied in English to the Hebrew chazan from 1893.
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)]. (1997-03-14)