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 ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.