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cane (walking stick)

cane, walking stick. Probably used first as a weapon, it gradually took on the symbolism of strength and power and eventually authority and social prestige. Ancient Egyptian rulers carried the symbolic staff, and in ancient Greece, some gods were represented with a staff in hand. In the Middle Ages, the long staff or walking stick was carried by pilgrims and shepherds. A scepter carried in the right hand symbolized royal power; carried in the left hand of a king the staff represented justice. The church, too, adopted the staff for its officials; the pastoral staff (crosier), which is long and has a crooked handle, symbolizes the bishop's office. The word cane was first applied to the walking stick after 1500, when bamboo was first used. After 1600 canes became highly fashionable for men. Made of ivory, ebony, and whalebone, as well as of wood, they had highly decorated and jeweled knob handles. They were often made hollow in order to carry possessions or supplies or, in some cases, to conceal a weapon. In the late 17th cent. oak sticks were extensively used, especially by the Puritans. The cane continued in men's fashions throughout the 18th cent.; as with the women's fan certain rules became standard for its use. From time to time women adopted the cane, particularly for a short time when Marie Antoinette carried the shepherd's crook. In the 19th cent. the cane became a mark of the professional man; the gold-headed cane was especially favored.

See K. Stein, Canes and Walking Sticks (1973).

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cane

cane / kān/ • n. 1. the hollow, jointed stem of a tall grass, esp. bamboo or sugar cane, or the stem of a slender palm such as rattan. ∎  any plant that produces such stems. ∎  stems of bamboo, rattan, or wicker used as a material for making furniture or baskets: [as adj.] a cane coffee table. ∎  short for sugar cane. ∎  a flexible, woody stem of the raspberry plant or any of its relatives. 2. a length of cane or a slender stick, esp. one used as a support for plants, as a walking stick, or as an instrument of punishment. ∎  (the cane) chiefly Brit. a form of corporal punishment used in certain schools, involving beating with a cane. • v. [tr.] 1. (often be caned) beat with a cane as a punishment. 2. [usu. as adj.] (caned) make or repair (furniture) with cane: armchairs with caned seats. DERIVATIVES: can·er n.

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cane (in botany)

cane, in botany, name for the hollow or woody, usually slender and jointed stems of plants (particularly rattan and other bamboos) and for various tall grasses, e.g., sugarcane, sorghum, and also other grasses used in the S United States for fodder. The large, or giant, cane (Arundinaria macrosperma or gigantea), a bamboo grass native to the United States, often forms impenetrable thickets 15 to 25 ft (3.6–7.6 m) high—the canebrakes of the South. The stalks are used locally for fishing poles and other purposes, and the young shoots are sometimes eaten as a potherb.

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cane

cane XIV. ME. can(n)e — OF. cane, (also mod.) canne :- L. canna reed, etc. — Gr. kánna, kánnē — Assyrian ḳanū (Heb. ḳaneh) — Sumerian gin.
Hence cane vb. XVII.

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cane

caneabstain, appertain, arcane, arraign, ascertain, attain, Bahrain, bane, blain, brain, Braine, Cain, Caine, campaign, cane, chain, champagne, champaign, Champlain, Charmaine, chicane, chow mein, cocaine, Coleraine, Coltrane, complain, constrain, contain, crane, Dane, deign, demesne, demi-mondaine, detain, disdain, domain, domaine, drain, Duane, Dwane, Elaine, entertain, entrain, explain, fain, fane, feign, gain, Germaine, germane, grain, humane, Hussein, inane, Jain, Jane, Jermaine, Kane, La Fontaine, lain, lane, legerdemain, Lorraine, main, Maine, maintain, mane, mise en scène, Montaigne, moraine, mundane, obtain, ordain, pain, Paine, pane, pertain, plain, plane, Port-of-Spain, profane, rain, Raine, refrain, reign, rein, retain, romaine, sane, Seine, Shane, Sinn Fein, skein, slain, Spain, Spillane, sprain, stain, strain, sustain, swain, terrain, thane, train, twain, Ujjain, Ukraine, underlain, urbane, vain, vane, vein, Verlaine, vicereine, wain, wane, Wayne •watch chain • mondaine • Haldane •ultramundane • Cellophane •novocaine • sugar cane • marocain

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