Definition of Cantonese in US English:



  • Relating to Canton (Guangzhou), its inhabitants, their dialect, or their cuisine.

    • ‘Ironically Radio Australia's Cantonese service was closed on the same day, July 1st 1997, that Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule.’
    • ‘Then he worked in Hangzhou from 1986 to 1988 but he still came back to Shanghai once or twice every month - just for the genuine Cantonese dishes in the Shanghai Friendship Restaurant.’
    • ‘The Cantonese dialect created the unique culture exemplified by Stephen Chow, and this is our pride.’
    • ‘The Cantonese lion can be divided into two styles, the Foshan style popular in Hong Kong and most Chinese communities around the world, and the Heshan style popular in Malaysia, Singapore, and with competition teams.’
    • ‘‘That's what I want to know as well,’ he says in a strong Cantonese accent, using the same dry English wit that has earned him comparisons to Peter Sellers.’
    • ‘Fifty bucks buys excellent widescreen transfers, English and Cantonese soundtracks, subtitles and commentary by the director.’
    • ‘One of the manifestations of local identity is language and Hong Kong cinema, since the beginning of sound, was closely identified as a Cantonese dialect cinema.’
    • ‘In the south of the country, meanwhile, some soup-loving Cantonese people enjoy placenta soup, seasoned with ginger, jujubes and several other Chinese herbs.’
    • ‘The hotel also boasts the most famous Cantonese restaurant in Suzhou - Sampan Seafood Restaurant, fashioned in the style of a traditional fishing village.’
    • ‘I do see trends of modernization in Cantonese opera, towards which realism, faster pacing and re-composition of certain renowned opera works take place.’
    • ‘If they were from Sichuan, there was no question that they ate Sichuanese and not Cantonese food.’
    • ‘American-born Locke, whose Cantonese grandfather once worked as a house servant in Washington, called for closer ties between Beijing and Washington and freer trade relations.’
    • ‘The menu is fairly standard for a Cantonese restaurant of this type: a range of starters and Chinese soups, main dishes featuring pork, beef, chicken and duck, and a decent selection of vegetarian dishes.’
    • ‘The Shanghai crowds booed during the flying scenes, which Western audiences likened to classical ballet, while a major talking point invisible to the rest of us was the Cantonese actors' attempts at delivering the Mandarin dialogue.’
    • ‘Students of all ages were encouraged to tune into Cantonese radio and television daily, Leung added.’
    • ‘Voice demonstrations of commonly used Cantonese expressions are also available for PDA users.’
    • ‘My girlfriend almost always opts for Cantonese style something or other, and on this occasion it was Lemon Chicken, again with egg fried rice.’
    • ‘The Cantonese term ‘gwai lo’ or ‘white ghost’ seems to be a much closer match for the English subtitle presented here.’
    • ‘The founder of Wing On was a Cantonese man surnamed Kwok, spelt Guo in Mandarin.’
    • ‘His father was Lee Hoi-Chuen, a successful actor and Cantonese opera performer.’


  • 1A native or inhabitant of Canton.

    • ‘According to Wong Kam-man, owner and chef of Lao Yo Chih, the Cantonese add eggs to the flour dough to make the skin more chewy.’
    • ‘The SARS outbreak last year led to great criticism of Chinese, especially Cantonese, over some of their unique dining ‘customs’.’
    • ‘The Cantonese have a saying: ‘We eat everything on the ground with four legs except tables and chairs.’’
    • ‘So the Cantonese and others enjoy snake as part of their cuisine.’
    • ‘The Cantonese stress a light diet and any greasy ingredients should be kept away from the kitchen of the Summer Pavilion at the hotel, where claypots are a specialty.’
    • ‘Yet, picky Cantonese discovered years ago that X.O. Excellence brandy perfectly complements their favourite shark's fin soup.’
    • ‘On top of this, the Chinese leadership has always believed that the Cantonese have a serious problem of ‘regionalism’ and may be difficult to control.’
    • ‘The striking thing about Guangzhou is that it is no longer the home of the Cantonese.’
    • ‘The Cantonese are most renowned for their deep love of soup.’
    • ‘As more and more Cantonese come to places like Shanghai, snake has grown in popularity.’
    • ‘It has been said that the Cantonese can even distinguish a northern ‘mutton-eater’ by smell.’
    • ‘Beyond that, one theory from Canton states that the inventor was Hung Hsiu-Ch'uan, the Cantonese who led a rebellion and proclaimed himself Emperor of Nanking.’
    • ‘At Canton, however, the foreigners had no choice; the Cantonese would not let them inside, and so they had no opportunity to discover that perhaps here as elsewhere they would rather be outside.’
    • ‘In 1932, a Cantonese named Lu Geng, along with a British national, set up a joint venture with the manager of an American-based mortgage company.’
    • ‘‘The Cantonese only expected to seek his fortune in Dalian and to marry his girlfriend, who was said to work in a department store in Shanghai,’ Wang said.’
    • ‘Thus the Cantonese like to have it boiled in soup with pork meat.’
    • ‘Some Cantonese still eat mice because they believe mouse meat is rich in protein.’
    • ‘But to this day, sometimes when I have Cantonese takeout, I also suffer a flashback echo of Mr. R (no fault of the Cantonese, of course).’
    • ‘We restricted the study to individuals belonging to the two major dialect groups of Chinese in Singapore: the Hokkiens and the Cantonese.’
  • 2A form of Chinese spoken by over 54 million people, mainly in southeastern China (including Hong Kong).

    Also called Yue
    • ‘His partner, terrified, dropped his own weapon and backed away, babbling in broken Cantonese.’
    • ‘A number of Chinese dialects are also widely spoken including Cantonese, Hokkien, and Mandarin together with Punjabi and Tamil.’
    • ‘Some West Coast and Hawaiian galleries take additional steps to ensure success with this market by hiring multilingual consultants who speak Japanese, Cantonese or Mandarin Chinese.’
    • ‘In Cantonese, the sound yu is also used for ‘fish’.’
    • ‘Unlike Cantonese, Shanghainese is only used in Shanghai, not even in nearby cities like Hangzhou and Suzhou.’
    • ‘The Cantonese spoken in Hong Kong is similar to that used in Guangzhou, but the accent and some vocabulary are slightly different.’
    • ‘It annoyed me that everything was in Mandarin - it brought me a little further from Edison and his Canadian-accented Cantonese.’
    • ‘Our local tour guide speaks Chinese (both Cantonese and putonghua), and he says that he has sufficient demand to keep busy every day of the week.’
    • ‘Neither of the pair spoke the other's language - one spoke Cantonese, the other spoke the Colombian dialect of Spanish.’
    • ‘We heard French, German, Italian, Japanese, Cantonese and Hindi being spoken.’
    • ‘But on the sad side, we are not given the chance to experience the film in its native Cantonese.’
    • ‘And thankfully, Fox also relented on the current trend of giving Western audiences English-only dub soundtracks instead of the original Cantonese with subtitles.’
    • ‘Fluent in Mandarin, she was able to operate among the Hong Kong residents, who mainly speak Cantonese.’
    • ‘In Cantonese, the number eight is pronounced as ‘fat’ which means fortune.’
    • ‘He said that during meetings with the Indian and Pakistani communities, he had been told that many applications had been rejected because they could not speak or understand Cantonese.’
    • ‘It goes without saying that his English is better than my Cantonese.’
    • ‘But, it doesn't make sense to me because although Hong Kong speaks Cantonese and Taiwan speaks Mandarin, the written languages are the same.’
    • ‘The majority of the population in Hong Kong is Chinese and speaks Cantonese, a dialect of Chinese, as the language for daily communication.’
    • ‘Speaking Cantonese, she calls the man's son to tell him to come to the hospital sooner rather than later - his father may not make it through the night.’
    • ‘His Cantonese wasn't very good, so whenever he taught a lesson we had to struggle to try and understand what he was saying.’