- Ⅰ.can  ► MODAL VERB (3rd sing. present can; past could) 1) be able to. 2) used to express doubt or surprise: he can't have finished. 3) used to indicate that something is typically the case: he could be very moody. 4) be permitted to.USAGE On whether it is better to use can or may when requesting permission, see the note at MAY(Cf. ↑may).ORIGIN Old English, «know».Ⅱ.can  ► NOUN 1) a cylindrical metal container, in particular one in which food or drink is hermetically sealed for long-term storage. 2) (the can) N. Amer. informal prison. 3) (the can) N. Amer. informal the toilet.► VERB (canned, canning) ▪ preserve in a can.● a can of worms — Cf. ↑a can of worms● in the can — Cf. ↑in the canDERIVATIVES canner noun.ORIGIN Old English.
English terms dictionary. 2015.