Origin of English word CANE

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English Word


Edenic Word


Hebrew Word







[ KNH]


A hollow stem


The so-called Indo-European “root” kanna (a reed) is admitted to be "of Semitic origin." Babylo-Assyrian qanu (pipe) is cited rather than  קנה QaNeH (reed, tube, stem, the "stalk" of Genesis41:5, the "shaft" ofExodus25:31, and the "branch" of Exodus25:32). כנה   KaNeH is a stalk or root (Psalms80:16) and כן  KaiN is a base or foot (of a laver).


Directly attributed to Greek kanna (reed, cane), the AHD only lists 7 cognates of CANE: CANAL, CANISTER, CANNELON, CANYON, CHANNEL, KENNEL, and (with Greek kanon meaning rod or rule) CANON- as in Biblical CANONIZATION. Most C-A-N- words in English derive from the versatile Hebrew etymon above, a CAN is a tubular container or CANISTER. Japanese kan(can) seems to  be yet another modern borrowing from English. But long before it meant a pipe.  A pipe and can are hollow, so the Japanese did not seem to borrow Chinese kan, rod, which is also a derivative of    קנה QaNeH.

קנקן QaQaN means  a pre-CAN container, and is an Arabic extension of   קנה QaNeH (tube).

Longer and larger "cans" include the CANNIKIN, CANNON, CANNULA and CANOPICURN. Weaving the K-N reed   into larger containers will yield the CANASTA (basket, and later card game) and CANEPHOROS.  Weaving rushes in wider, flatter shapes will produce a CANAPE, CANCEL (lattice, grating-thus a verb of crossing out), and CANOPY.  To CANE is also a verb of beating with a stick.  Just ask a litterbug in Singapore. CANEBRAKE, CANELLA and CANEPHOROS are more words linked to reeds and woven wicker (from reeds).  An Arabic quon boula is a CANNON BALL. 

CANAPE and CANOPY (see CANOPY)  recall  כנף   KaNaF (extremity, wing)—a cousin of      קנה    QaNeH (branch, extension). Other possibilities include CANT HOOK, CANTEEN, CANTHUS, CANTINA, CANTILEVER, CANTLE, CANTO (angle, corner), and CANTON (a political branch).

For sugar CANE and CANE SUGAR return to   קנה QaNeH (stalk, stem), reinforced by כנה   KaNeH (base, post, upright).

  As a hollow reed  קנה   QaNeH is a pipe too, and to pipe or produce shrill sounds with our widpipe, may be the KN source of all CANOROUS or CANTORIAL activity by a CHANTEUSE CHANTING a CHANSON - or that of a CANARY or CHANTICLEER (rooster).  See HEN.  CAN-CAN and CHANTAGE involve the "singing"' of tattling and blackmailing. CANT is traced to the whining singsong of beggars. There's also the CANTATA, CANTICLE, CANTO, CANTUS, and CANZONE(T).

For the IE “root” kan (to sing) and  קינה  QeeYNaH (dirge) see "KEEN."   Hungarian enekel (to sing) and enekes (singer)  are reversed K-N singing terms.

Returning to    (not hollow) branches, bough in Polish is konarm.  A canal (kanat in Arabic) is a kanova in Finnish.

See CANDY, CANOE, and CINNAMON.    See OCEAN for more on CAN or CANISTER.

A Chinese rod is a kan; the Thai equivalent is kahn. Kano   in Hawaiian is a large, hard stem or a tool handle .              קין QaYiN is a cane-like spear (IISamuel21:16); the Arabic QeeYN is a cane or spear.

CANVAS is from Latin cannabis (hemp) and the Indo-European “root” kannabis (hemp - a late Indo-European word borrowed from an unknown source).

קנבוס QaNBOO$ is an early post-Biblical term for CANNABIS or hemp. Other Mishnaic variants sound like K'NOOBHeS and KaNaBHOOS. The word HEMP is traced to Greek kannabis and Persian kanab (notice the K- to-H change, as well as the more common N --→ M and B --→ P Grimm's Law shifts of nasals and bilabials). The ultimate etymon is conceded by Webster's to be "a very early borrowing from a non-IE, possibly Semitic, language."   A probable source of CANNABIS is either  קנה בשם  QaNeH BoSeM – Exodus 30:24 See BALSAM, and consider  N/L confusion with CALAMUS – see CALAMUS.

In seeking Semitic words related to   קנבוס   QaN(V)OAS (hemp), consider Aramaic QaNaBH (to trim, prune—possible source of NIP and NIBBLE) and QaNeH (stalk, stem, reed). See SCION.

JUNKET is from Latin juncus, reed.  This might be a reversed C-N קנה QaNeH (reed), with the vowel-like J tacked on the front, and the familiar –us suffix.

Related Words


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