from PIE base *gno- (see know
). Absorbing the third sense of "to know," that of "to know how to do something" (in addition to "to know as a fact" and "to be acquainted with" something or someone). An O.E. preterite-present verb, its original p.p., couth, survives only in its negation (see uncouth
), but cf. could
. The prp. has spun off as cunning
O.E. canne "a cup, container," from P.Gmc. *kanna (cf. O.S., O.N., Swed. kanna, M.Du. kanne, Du. kan, O.H.G. channa, Ger. Kanne), probably an early borrowing from L.L. canna "container, vessel," from L. canna "reed," also "reed pipe, small boat;" but the sense evolution is difficult. Modern "air-tight
vessel of tinned iron" is from 1867 (can-opener is from 1877). Slang meaning "toilet" is c.1900, said to be a shortening of piss-can. Meaning "buttocks" is from c.1910. The verb meaning "to put up in cans" is attested from 1871; that of "to fire an employee" is from 1905. Related: Canning. Canned "pre-recorded" first attested 1904.