1. A card game for two to six players, requiring two or three decks of cards, in which the object is to obtain melds of three or more cards of the same rank.
2. A meld of seven cards having the same rank in this game.
[Spanish canasta, basket, canasta (in reference to the container or tray used to hold the piles of undrawn and discarded cards when playing the game), from canasto, basket with a narrowing opening (influenced by cesta, basket), from Latin canistrum; see CANISTER.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.