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Re: "can"

Posted by ESC on August 21, 2001

In Reply to: "Can" posted by franco on August 21, 2001

: What an absurd word for toilet..don't you think!

Yes it is.

CAN - "In American slang, 'can' has meant a toilet since 1900, a jail since 1910, a cheap car since 1929, and the buttocks since 1930.All this came from the basic word 'can' (Old English 'canne,' cup), which meant a container for liquids long before tin cans were invented. We still use 'can' in this general way, as well as to mean a sealed, filled tin can - the British don't like this confusion between the two types of cans, so they call the latter a 'tin,' especially if it contains solid food."
From the "Can It! Freeze!" chapter of "Listening to America" by Stuart Berg Flexner (Simon and Schuster, New York, 1982).