1. A usually cylindrical storage container, especially:
a. A box or can of thin metal or plastic used for holding dry foodstuffs or cooking ingredients, such as flour or sugar.
b. A small plastic container used for storing a roll of film.
c. A metal container that holds pressurized gas, as one containing tear gas that explodes on impact or one containing oxygen as part of a breathing apparatus.
a. A metallic cylinder packed with shot that scatter upon discharge from a cannon, formerly used as an antipersonnel round.
b. Such cylinders, or the shot used in such cylinders, considered as a group.
3. The part of a gas mask that contains the filter for removing toxic agents from the air.
[Latin canistrum, basket, from Greek kanastron, from kanna, reed; see CANE.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 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.