Definition of cane in English:



  • 1The hollow jointed stem of a tall grass, especially bamboo or sugar cane, or the stem of a slender palm such as rattan.

    • ‘They brought the eggs back to Constantinople in hollow canes.’
    • ‘Stam's choice would be this black bamboo whose arching canes can have the gleam of polished ebony.’
    • ‘In winter, the stems, or canes, turn from green to red, which helps protect them from ultraviolet rays and oxidation.’
    • ‘Now Alex observed that the third leg was much skinnier than the other two, like a tree branch or a cane.’
    • ‘It involved cutting canes, watering, and pulling out weeds.’
    • ‘A scattering of alliums, Purple Sensation, nicely set off the yellow of the bamboo canes and the palm flowers.’
    • ‘An established plant can generate vegetation - canes, foliage, and flowers - weighing several hundred pounds.’
    1. 1.1 Any plant that produces canes.
      • ‘The actual genetic relationships among the native canes and the extent to which they contributed to the commercial hybrid germplasm has been the subject of speculation over the years.’
      • ‘Plant and prune vines, fruit trees, bushes and canes.’
      • ‘Bamboos and other canes often have edible seeds.’
    2. 1.2mass noun Stems of bamboo, rattan, or wicker used as a material for making furniture or baskets.
      as modifier ‘a cane coffee table’
      • ‘The surroundings are ‘homely’ with padded cane furniture, raffia placemats and red linen napkins.’
      • ‘Mr Clarke said five cane suites were taken, two of which are dark brown, two honey-coloured and one pale.’
      • ‘You can also do a lot with a group of small baskets, metal or cane, hanging from a sturdy hook in the ceiling.’
      • ‘The same soothing mix of wood, cane, cotton, and thatch prevails in the resort's beachfront courtyard.’
      • ‘Alternatively, construct the chair's carcass like this but weave the seat from strips of hessian or wicker-type cane.’
      • ‘I know of only two vehicles that could be purchased ex works with a wicker or woven cane body.’
      • ‘The waste generated in the making of cane and bamboo products is used for production of handmade paper and decorative tiles for eco-friendly living.’
      • ‘Every morning he heads out with a flute and two cane baskets flung across his shoulder on a bamboo pole.’
      • ‘There were a few huge cane clocks and lamps too at the stall.’
      • ‘Jute bags look stylish enough, when used as carry bags fitted with bamboo or cane handles.’
      • ‘And the plight of cane producers in the South is getting worse.’
      • ‘These materials, as well as wicker and cane, have low moisture absorption capability.’
      • ‘On the ground floor of the venue, an eye-catching collection of cane furniture in a variety of shapes and styles, grabs the attention of visitors.’
      • ‘The artifacts made of wood, bamboo and cane are claimed to be peculiar to the North Eastern States.’
      • ‘These circular basket boats are like large, unsinkable, cane saucers covered in buffalo-hide or plastic.’
      • ‘On my way back I stop at a village that has several shops with cane products.’
      • ‘Many Joburgers will remember the site as The Cane Shop, where cane blinds, furniture and baskets were once made.’
      • ‘The business originally sold pottery, cane furniture and giftware at premises further down the road and was opened as a joint venture between Mrs Noon and her late husband Ronald.’
      • ‘Comfy upholstered seats with cane backs accompany round copper-topped tables.’
      • ‘It is a hut supported by poles, with walls of palm fronds, cane, clay, or boards.’
    3. 1.3
      short for sugar cane
      • ‘The first occurred while cutting cane a couple of years ago, he said.’
      • ‘A football trophy was the only item that cane farmer Graham Jensen could salvage from the ashes of his home which was destroyed by fire on Friday night.’
      • ‘The region has about 120 cane farmers, all of whom are contemplating their future without the Moreton Mill.’
      • ‘Resentment focused on the fact that many farmers had been driven to sell wheat early at a lower price to finance the planting and irrigation of their next cane crop.’
      • ‘Included in yesterday's sugar package was a $50,000 re-establishment fee for cane harvesters.’
      • ‘The minister gave the commitment that the Government will not reduce the price of cane and other support measures to farmers.’
      • ‘Ahmed has recommended large-scale use of bio-ethanol produced as a by-product of sugar in cane mills.’
      • ‘But the funding announcements Mr Barton is expected to make during a visit to the region, do promise to sweeten the mood of cane farmers.’
      • ‘The Bundaberg district's cane farmers are eagerly awaiting news of the sugar rescue package.’
      • ‘NSW cane farmers must think about diversifying to other crops.’
      • ‘Rum is made by fermenting either cane juice or molasses mixed with water, and then distilling the resulting low-alcohol wine.’
      • ‘NSW Sugar will pioneer harvesting techniques that collect the whole cane crop, then separate it at the mill.’
      • ‘This season it had been unusually cold, but the cane crop was rich.’
    4. 1.4 A flexible woody stem of the raspberry plant or any of its relatives.
      ‘raspberry canes’
      • ‘When the canes reach the top of a stand-alone post, they will cascade and supply an umbrella of blooms.’
      • ‘Also, when the old fruiting canes are removed after harvest, some of the weak suckers can be removed by hand.’
      • ‘Brambles send up so many new canes each year that they can become overcrowded, so you must also cut some of the new canes to the ground.’
      • ‘The further back you cut hybrid teas, the stronger and thicker the new canes will be.’
      • ‘Most of this class are large shrubs with rather lax canes that can be trained as pillar or climbing roses.’
      • ‘This disease reduces raspberry yields by wilting, stunting, and eventually killing the fruiting cane or the entire plant.’
      • ‘As in red raspberries, surplus blackberry canes should be thinned out in the spring.’
      • ‘They'll soon die anyway, and removing them admits more sunshine to the new canes growing from the base of the plant.’
      • ‘Burying the rose is best accomplished by first hand-stripping leaves, then bundling the major canes loosely together.’
      • ‘Cut out all the old fruiting canes from raspberries, loganberries and blackberries and tie in the new shoots.’
      • ‘It is seldom wise to leave more than six canes on any rose plant.’
      • ‘The farther the fruiting canes are from the main stem, the less likely they are to bear fruit.’
      • ‘After the spring wave of bloom is finished, climbers may have older canes shortened or removed.’
      • ‘The berries are borne on year old canes, and on two and three year old spurs.’
      • ‘Anthracnose can cause symptoms on canes, leaves, fruit, and stems of berry clusters.’
      • ‘After your roses become dormant in the fall, protect them from severe freezing weather by piling a mound of soil over the canes.’
      • ‘The bud union is the ‘knob’ at the base of the cane from which all new canes grow.’
      • ‘Prune the flowering side shoots to two to three buds above the structural canes during the dormant season.’
      • ‘On established plants, prune dead, damaged, and overcrowded canes to the base.’
      • ‘Cane galls occur almost exclusively on fruiting canes and usually appear in late spring or early summer.’
      stem, shoot, trunk, stock, bine, bent, haulm, straw, reed
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  • 2A length of cane or a slender stick, especially one used as a support for plants, a walking stick, or an instrument of punishment.

    ‘tie the shoot to a cane if vertical growth is required’
    • ‘Tie short pieces of old bamboo canes together to make a nest for ladybirds and place them next to the plants that are regularly attacked by aphids, such as roses.’
    • ‘In flower-beds, stake tall perennials such as delphiniums and hollyhocks by using canes for individual flower stems or by pushing twiggy prunings from shrubs and trees into or around the clump.’
    • ‘A walking cane for the blind developed by Dean Waters and research associates uses sonar to detect obstacles.’
    • ‘Next an elderly woman supporting herself with a cane ventured over.’
    • ‘Hoops and canes had proved ineffective and a strong but natural support was urgently required to keep the new growth of this plant upright.’
    • ‘Outside the ancient settlement, with its alleyways and arches reinforced with bamboo canes, is the early 13 th-century romanesque church of St Esteve.’
    • ‘Then they noticed his cane, a long white stick that he folded up as he sat down.’
    • ‘Similarly, canes or walking sticks are often coated with Teflon, so that they will not slip on hard, smooth surfaces.’
    • ‘Chillies need some support; a cane by their side will be plenty for most.’
    • ‘To protect shrubs, erect a windbreak by inserting stout canes round the plant and then fixing several layers of hessian or netting to them.’
    • ‘Thieves are also using bamboo canes with magnets on the end to fish keys through letter boxes.’
    • ‘My son is off his crutches now but still walks with a cane for support and is always in pain by the end of the day.’
    • ‘I always use a few bamboo canes to mark the planting position so I don't damage the shallow - planted bulbs.’
    • ‘Tie all the main shoots firmly to supporting wires or canes.’
    • ‘The court sentenced him to four strokes on his bare buttocks with a rattan cane.’
    • ‘A cane that's too tall will make you work harder to pick it up and move it.’
    • ‘Go for a hike in the Alps and you'll notice a curious thing: Euros love their walking canes.’
    • ‘She poked along with her cane, scanning the grass for chipmunk holes.’
    • ‘His brother has been sentenced to six years and four lashes with a rattan cane.’
    • ‘Feed tomatoes regularly, pinching out any side shoots that form and tying the main stems to canes for support.’
    walking stick, stick, staff
    stick, stake, rod, upright, pole, beanpole
    stick, rod, birch
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    1. 2.1 A form of corporal punishment used in certain schools, involving beating with a cane.
      ‘wrong answers were rewarded by the cane’
      • ‘Violating the hijab code was made punishable by 100 lashes of the cane and six months imprisonment.’
      • ‘The ultimate sanction of the cane still existed but was rarely applied.’
      • ‘I'm very pleased to say I missed out on the days of school corporal punishment and thankfully was never exposed to the cane or other similar infamous tools of torture.’
      • ‘In my day discipline was meted out with either the cane or a strap across the backside.’
      • ‘Persistent offenders who were sent out of class three times did face a stiffer punishment: either the cane or else the shame of being slippered in front of the whole class.’
      lash, scourge, thong, strap, belt
      View synonyms


[with object]
  • 1Beat with a cane as a punishment.

    ‘Matthew was caned for bullying by the headmaster’
    • ‘I was beaten only three times - once for reading Biggles in first year Latin class, once for cheekiness, and once for pillow-fighting, and frankly, I would have been ashamed to have left school without having been caned.’
    • ‘But my wails fell on deaf ears as she continued caning me.’
    • ‘I remember being caned for talking after hours when the lights were out.’
    • ‘As someone who was caned at school for gross incompetence in woodwork, I could but stand in wonder at the two wood-carved ceilings on display, representing stylised interpretations of the sun.’
    • ‘Monday morning assemblies had the usual climax, after the hymns and the sports reports, the farewells and welcomes for staff: the list of victims who would be caned by the mortar-boarded and black-gowned Headmaster.’
    • ‘I remember anticipating the possible punishment of being caned for writing about ‘an enemy’ - a Western Christian woman - and later being admonished by mum for provoking the authorities.’
    • ‘But in a situation where you are raised up being told that whipping and caning people is acceptable, do you not wonder why he is violent?’
    • ‘Which would be a funny tag to give to the principal who caned me so many times, but then ‘political correctness’ wasn't a term then.’
    • ‘Another 11 people are due to be caned at a later date.’
    • ‘Barbara has memories of mischievous boys flicking bits of ink-soaked blotting paper at each other and shoving books down their trousers when they were to be caned.’
    • ‘He was as defiant as he was in school when he was caned because he had refused to salute visiting white military officers.’
    • ‘Depending on the severity of these, some of the offenders would be caned.’
    • ‘Errant students were caned, that was part of school life and the parents did not object.’
    • ‘I remember being caned on the hand for misbehaving occasionally and as students we addressed both the teachers and the Imam as ‘Uncle’.’
    • ‘Being pregnant, I couldn't be caned, lashed or put in the stocks.’
    • ‘My mum would use to cane me in order to force me to take vegetables but no matter how hard I try, I'll always throw them up.’
    • ‘An angry deputy head said striking a prefect was a terrible thing and that if corporal punishment hadn't been banned, our victim would have been caned.’
    • ‘Then I was caned one last time, whipped one last time, soaked one last time, and spiked one last time.’
    • ‘The child with the board at the end of the day was caned!’
    beat, strike, hit, flog, thrash, lash, birch, whip, horsewhip, strap, leather, flagellate, scourge
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    1. 1.1British informal Defeat heavily or punish severely.
      ‘they have caned Essex and Durham in the Championship’
      • ‘The website is caning it at the moment and we have all you beautiful people to thank.’
      • ‘The kind of youngsters who would go for it will get caned on insurance.’
      • ‘It wasn't as if they were caning the media for their reporting skills every time, but they did do it sometimes.’
      • ‘It was a moment in time when the press was caning all the chefs.’
      • ‘Suffice to say that Andy's productivity and quality rate has never been higher and is basically caning mine.’
      • ‘The 'Canes caned the Crusaders 37-20 in a superb victory.’
      • ‘Private Doctors are far more regulated as they are more likely to be caned by the lawyers for any malpractice.’
      • ‘He's done every show of note, and still he caned it at the party last night.’
      • ‘Dave Cockerill and Paul Lees caned the Thorpe attack with 131 coming in the first 20 overs.’
      • ‘In the same ruling, it got caned with a $7.12 million fine.’
      • ‘Daniel Craig was caned in the press before this movie came out.’
      • ‘They were caned 60 to 7 by the slick 2002 Auckland side.’
      • ‘Curiously, I had a dream last night that Latham absolutely caned Howard.’
      • ‘And on television bulletins, viewers were first treated to how England rugby union had caned Canada which was about as exciting a tussle as Chelsea taking on Chertsey in football.’
  • 2British informal Take (drink or drugs) in large quantities.

    ‘the others were probably out caning it in some bar’
    • ‘I'm not so bad now but, back then, I was caning it big time.’
    • ‘I know, I know… But seriously: get very caned, watch it, and bear in mind that it's not a film about gay glam rockers that uses faerie imagery, it's a film about faeries that uses gay glam rock imagery.’
    • ‘That would be only when you're either very caned or very dreamy, I'd imagine.’
    • ‘During some of the more mellow bits (i.e. before we really started caning it) the bloke at the front drifted back and had a chat.’
    • ‘I like to cane it for a minimum of two nights, more often three.’
    • ‘What happens though, when failure to succeed, social stresses or the general burden of life here, cause you to drink before breakfast, get caned, or miss breakfast altogether and go to the bookies instead?’
    • ‘We literally caned a bottle of wine and jammed this blues song.’
    • ‘But I look at someone like Carl Cox, who's almost 40 and still caning it and I wonder how much longer he'll be able to keep it up.’
    • ‘It was really slow (on my machine, anyway) but I found this could be sidestepped by being really, really caned when I played it.’


Late Middle English: from Old French, via Latin from Greek kanna, kannē, of Semitic origin.