Definition of tin can in US English:

tin can


  • 1A tinplate or aluminum container for preserving food, especially an empty one.

    • ‘But we needed the dark of the night for his plan so we picked up an old tin can from a metal dumpster near the Purina Dog Chow Company and we killed some time playing one-on-one soccer with it beside the rail yards.’
    • ‘The monkey tossed the paper cup and the tin can into the organ grinder's hands and grabbed the organ.’
    • ‘I'm in my car, thrown aside in the car park like an old tin can.’
    • ‘Stoked with Winchester Power Points, it will place all eight chambers in one inch at 25 yards, or roll a tin can, or bag a rabbit if it's standing still.’
    • ‘The only other thing you needed was a tin can filled with nuts and bolts, spray-painted black.’
    • ‘From the sales assistants who insist on putting a pen into my right hand every time I have to sign a credit card receipt, to the daily struggle that is opening a tin can, make no mistake - we live in a right-handed world.’
    • ‘She grinned as she stuffed some leftover food left out into a tin can.’
    • ‘Soon coffee was prepared and served, just as it would be in any village home, except that the beans were crushed in a tin can with a crowbar.’
    • ‘Until recently, there's been the odd tin can or a bit of rubbish, but there's been nothing like this at all.’
    • ‘My dad entertained Callum with an array of musical instruments: a guitar, piano, organ, harmonica, and a tin can.’
    • ‘Old Mr. Driscoll took up a newly-made tin can and began to polish it with a soft rag.’
    • ‘Toby walked back to the kitchen, quickly scraped some dog food out of a tin can into Bucky's dish, and placed it on the floor.’
    • ‘Put a handful of hide glue granules in an old tin can and allow it to soak overnight in just enough cold water to cover it.’
    • ‘There were times that I thought New York and Chicago radio broadcasters talked through a tin can to get a special audio effect to their broadcasts.’
    • ‘Of course, the football landscape has changed since Gray was kicking a tin can about the streets of Drumchapel, Glasgow, and dreaming of becoming the next Colin Stein.’
    • ‘A tin can balancing on the edge of a basketball cage mirrors the plights of two pairs of individuals whose lives will only now cross paths.’
    • ‘We placed a tin can containing water several meters from the feeder.’
    • ‘Tulips, like daisies, look at home in any type of container: from the silliest tin can to the prettiest crystal vase.’
    • ‘Students who could mount cheap directional antennae on their roofs and point them at DP would be able to connect to the campus network from all over the city with little more than a tin can, a bit of antenna cable and a wireless card.’
    • ‘Besides a Frisbee, the novelties they offered her included plastic rings, a shoe, a bucket, and a tin can.’
    1. 1.1US nautical slang A destroyer or a submarine.
      • ‘Then all we have to do is have your ship dock with us and we can be off this tin can!’
      • ‘She was genuinely concerned for Rick, whether it was because he was the one getting her out of this floating tin can or she already cared for him enough to be worried.’
      • ‘This proximity is reflected in the claustrophobic look of U - 571, which gives you an idea of what a pack of sweaty men must feel like trapped in a flimsy tin can, straining to hear the sonar beep that means certain death.’


tin can

/ˌtɪn ˈkæn//ˌtin ˈkan/