1. A song or chant, especially a nonmetrical hymn with words taken from a biblical text other than from the book of Psalms.
2. Canticles Bible The Song of Songs.
[Middle English, from Latin canticulum, diminutive of cantus, song, from past participle of canere, to sing; see kan- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 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.