Etymology
Advertisement
canter (n.1)

"moderate or easy gallop," 1755, from canter (v.).

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
cantrip (n.)

"magical spell," 1719, a Scottish word of uncertain origin; despite much speculation it is unclear even where the word is divided, whether the second element is rope (perhaps a reference to knotted cords as magical devices) or trappa "a step" or some other thing.

Related entries & more 
canton (v.)

1590s, "divide into districts," from canton (n.). Related: Cantoned.

Related entries & more 
bel canto 

1894, Italian, literally "fine song." See belle + chant.

Related entries & more 
deadwood (n.)

also dead-wood, 1887 in the figurative sense of "useless person or thing," originally American English, from dead (adj.) + wood (n.). The meaning "wood dead upon a tree" is by 1803. Dead wood in a forest is useful as firewood; perhaps the reference here is to the dried up parts of plants grown for commercial production of flowers or fruit.

The term also meant, in ship-building, "timber built up at either end of the keel to afford firm fastening for the cant timbers" (18c.) and, in bowls, "pins which have been knocked down and block those still standing" (1858).

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
footpad (n.)

"highwayman who robs on foot," 1680s, from foot (n.) + pad "pathway, footpath" (1670s), from Middle Dutch pad "way, path," from Proto-Germanic *patha- "way, path" (see pad (v.1), and compare path). Pad was a cant word among thieves and vagabonds, in expressions such as stand pad "stand by the wayside begging." Especially "one of a large class, existing in Europe when police authority was still in an ineffective condition, who made a business of robbing people passing on horseback or in carriages" [Century Dictionary]. 

Related entries & more 
bluff (v.)

1839, "to deceive (opponents), especially by betting heavily and with a confident air on a worthless hand to make them 'fold,'" an American English poker term, perhaps from Dutch bluffen "to brag, boast," or verbluffen "to baffle, mislead." The general sense "use a show of confident assurance to deceive an opponent as to one's real resources or strength" is by 1854. Related: Bluffed; bluffing.

An identical word meant "blindfold, hoodwink" in 1670s, but the sense evolution and connection are unclear; OED calls it "one of the numerous cant terms ... which arose between the Restoration and the reign of Queen Anne."

Related entries & more 
nig-nog (n.)

"foolish person," 1953, OED suggests from earlier cant slang nigmenog "a very silly fellow" (1700). Compare Australian and dialectal ning-nong "fool" (1832). The word turns up in various apparently unrelated contexts in late 19c.-early 20c. Wright's "Dictionary of Obsolete and Provincial Words" (1886) has nig-nog as a verb for "to fuck." It also was the name of a fictitious patent medicine that "cures all nervous ailments," etc. in a humor story by Edgar Wallace originally published in 1923. As a term of abuse for a black person (by 1959), a shortened and reduplicated form of nigger.

Related entries & more 
prim (adj.)

"formal, stiffly precise in speech or manners," 1709, the sole surviving sense of a word attested first as a verb (1680s) "to assume a formal, precise demeanor," a cant word of uncertain origin, perhaps from French prim "thin, small, delicate" (Old French prim "fine, delicate"), from Latin primus "finest," literally "first" (see prime (adj.)).

Later, "deck out with great nicety, dress to effect, form or dispose with affected preciseness" (1721). It also is attested as a noun from 1700, "formal, precise, or stuck-up person." Related: Primly; primness.

Related entries & more 
fun (n.)

"diversion, amusement, mirthful sport," 1727, earlier "a cheat, trick" (c. 1700), from verb fun (1680s) "to cheat, hoax," which is of uncertain origin, probably a variant of Middle English fonnen "befool" (c. 1400; see fond). Scantly recorded in 18c. and stigmatized by Johnson as "a low cant word." Older senses are preserved in phrase to make fun of (1737) and funny money "counterfeit bills" (1938, though this use of the word may be more for the sake of the rhyme). See also funny. Fun and games "mirthful carryings-on" is from 1906.

Related entries & more 

Page 7