Cant vs Nonsense - What's the difference?

cant | nonsense |

As nouns the difference between cant and nonsense

is that cant is , a hundred while nonsense is letters or words, in writing or speech, that have no meaning or seem to have no meaning.

As a verb nonsense is

to make nonsense of.

As an adjective nonsense is

resulting from the substitution of a nucleotide in a sense codon, causing it to become a stop codon (not coding for an amino-acid).



Etymology 1

From (etyl) , cognate with chant.


  • (countable) An argot, the jargon of a particular class or subgroup.
  • He had the look of a prince, but the cant of a fishmonger.
  • * 1836 , Three discourses preached before the Congregational Society in Watertown, page 65
  • I am aware that the phrase free inquiry has become too much a cant phrase soiled by the handling of the ignorant and the reckless by those who fall into the mistake of supposing that religion has its root in the understanding and by those who can see just far enough to doubt and no further.
  • (countable, uncountable) A private or secret language used by a religious sect, gang, or other group.
  • Shelta.
  • (uncountable, pejorative) Empty, hypocritical talk.
  • People claim to care about the poor of Africa, but it is largely cant .
  • * 1749 , , Book IV ch iv
  • He is too well grounded for all your philosophical cant to hurt.
  • * 1759-1770 ,
  • Of all the cants' which are canted in this canting world — though the '''cant''' of hypocrites may be the worst — the ' cant of criticism is the most tormenting!
  • (uncountable) Whining speech, such as that used by beggars.
  • (countable, heraldry) A blazon of a coat of arms that makes a pun upon the name of the bearer, canting arms.
  • (obsolete) A call for bidders at a public fair; an auction.
  • * Jonathan Swift
  • To sell their leases by cant .
    * (private or secret language) argot, jargon, slang * (musical singing) chant, singsong


    (en verb)
  • To speak with the jargon of a class or subgroup.
  • * Ben Jonson
  • The doctor here, / When he discourseth of dissection, / Of vena cava and of vena porta, / The meseraeum and the mesentericum, / What does he else but cant ?
  • * Bishop Sanderson
  • that uncouth affected garb of speech, or canting language, if I may so call it
  • To speak in set phrases.
  • To preach in a singsong fashion, especially in a false or empty manner.
  • * Beaumont and Fletcher
  • the rankest rogue that ever canted
  • (heraldry) Of a blazon, to make a pun that references the bearer of a coat of arms.
  • (obsolete) To sell by auction, or bid at an auction.
  • (Jonathan Swift)
    (Webster 1913)

    Etymology 2


    (en noun)
  • (obsolete) corner, niche
  • * Ben Jonson
  • The first and principal person in the temple was Irene, or Peace; she was placed aloft in a cant .
  • slope, the angle at which something is set.
  • *
  • Owing to the cant of the vessel, the masts hung far out over the water, and from my perch on the cross-trees I had nothing below me but the surface of the bay.
  • An outer or external angle.
  • An inclination from a horizontal or vertical line; a slope or bevel; a tilt.
  • (Totten)
  • A movement or throw that overturns something.
  • * 1830 , The Edinburgh Encyclopedia, volume 3, page 621
  • It is not only of great service in keeping the boat in her due position on the sea, but also in creating a tendency immediately to recover from any sudden cant , or lurch, from a heavy wave; and it is besides beneficial in diminishing the violence of beating against the sides of the vessel which she may go to relieve.
  • A sudden thrust, push, kick, or other impulse, producing a bias or change of direction; also, the bias or turn so give.
  • to give a ball a cant
  • (coopering) A segment forming a side piece in the head of a cask.
  • (Knight)
  • A segment of the rim of a wooden cogwheel.
  • (Knight)
  • (nautical) A piece of wood laid upon the deck of a vessel to support the bulkheads.
  • Verb

    (en verb)
  • To set (something) at an angle.
  • to cant''' a cask; to '''cant a ship
  • To give a sudden turn or new direction to.
  • to cant''' round a stick of timber; to '''cant a football
  • To bevel an edge or corner.
  • To overturn so that the contents are emptied.
  • Etymology 3


    (en verb)
  • To divide or parcel out.
  • Etymology 4

    From (etyl), presumably from (etyl) *

    Alternative forms

    * kant


  • (British, dialect) lively, lusty.
  • Anagrams

    * ----



    Alternative forms

    * nonsence (archaic)


    (wikipedia nonsense) (en-noun)
  • Letters or words, in writing or speech, that have no meaning or seem to have no meaning.
  • After my father had a stroke, every time he tried to talk, it sounded like nonsense .
  • An untrue statement.
  • He says that I stole his computer, but that's just nonsense .
  • Something foolish.
  • * 2008 , "Nick Leeson has some lessons for this collapse",, Oct 9, 2008
  • and central banks lend vast sums against marshmallow backed securities, or other nonsenses creative bankers dreamed up.
  • (literature) A type of poetry that contains strange or surreal ideas, as, for example, that written by .
  • (biology) A damaged DNA sequence whose products are not biologically active, that is, that does nothing.
  • Synonyms

    : See * (something that lacks meaning or absurd statement) ** (mostly colloquialisms or slang) balderdash, baloney, bull, bulldust, bunk, codswallop, drivel, gibberish, hogwash, hooey (US), horse hockey, malarkey, manure, poppycock, prattle, rhubarb (chiefly British), rubbish, twaddle ** (vulgar slang) bollocks (British), bullshit, crap, horseshit (US)

    Derived terms

    * nonsensical * nonsensification * nonsensify

    See also

    * (biology) missense


  • To make nonsense of
  • * Bernard Shaw, "The Red Robe", in James Huneker ed., Dramatic Opinions and Essays by G. Bernard Shaw , volume II, page 73:
  • At the Haymarket all this is nonsensed by an endeavor to steer between Mr. Stanley Weyman's rights as author of the story and the prescriptive right of the leading actor to fight popularly and heroically against heavy odds.
  • To attempt to dismiss as nonsense.
  • * 1997 , "Rockies respond to whip", Denver Post , Jun 3, 1997:
  • "They haven't nonsensed these workouts. They've taken them and used them very well. I didn't know how they'd respond, but they've responded."
  • * 2000 , Leon Garfield, Jason Cockcroft, Jack Holborn , page 131:
  • Very commanding: very much 'end of this nonsensing' . Mister Fared spread his hands and shook his thin head imperceptibly, as if to say he understood
  • * 2006 , Sierra Leone: Petroleum Unit Calls for Auditing ,, Mar 17, 2006:
  • He further nonsensed press suggestions that the Petroleum Unit was set up to assist in the administration of sporting activities.
  • To joke around, to waste time
  • * 1963 , C. F. Griffin, The Impermanence of Heroes , page 170:
  • When he meant "go and get one" he said to go and get one, with no nonsensing around about "liking" to get one.


    * pooh-pooh, rubbish, whangdoodle


    (en adjective)
  • Resulting from the substitution of a nucleotide in a sense codon, causing it to become a stop codon (not coding for an amino-acid).