Hypocritical or insincere talk, often associated with a particular group or profession. Can also refer to the jargon or specialized vocabulary used by a particular group or profession.


US English

UK English

Part of Speech

Noun (can also be used as a verb to mean speak in a hypocritical or insincere manner)


Jargon, slang, dialect, lingo, patter, argot, gibberish.


Sincerity, honesty, candor, plain speech.

Word Forms

Part of Speech Words
Noun cants, cant
Verb cant
Adjective None
Adverb None

Example Sentences

  • The politician’s speech was full of cant and empty promises.

  • She was tired of the cant and hypocrisy of the corporate world.

  • The academic journal was filled with obscure cant that was difficult for non-experts to understand.

  • The self-help guru’s advice was nothing but empty cant that didn’t address any real problems.


The word “cant” can be used to describe hypocritical or insincere talk, often associated with a particular group or profession. It can refer to a form of language that is used to sound impressive or knowledgeable, but which is actually empty or meaningless. This type of language is often used by politicians, businesspeople, and others in positions of power, who seek to appear trustworthy or knowledgeable without actually committing to anything specific.

In addition to its use to describe insincere talk, “cant” can also refer to the specialized vocabulary or jargon used by a particular group or profession. For example, medical professionals may use a certain type of cant when discussing medical issues, while lawyers may use legal cant when discussing legal matters. This type of language can be difficult for outsiders to understand, and may serve as a way for members of a particular group to reinforce their sense of identity and belonging.

The word “cant” has its roots in Scottish and English dialects, where it originally referred to a particular type of speech pattern or accent. Over time, the meaning of the word has evolved to include the concepts of insincerity and specialized vocabulary.

There are a few related words that use prefixes or suffixes to modify the meaning of “cant.” For example, “acronymic cant” refers to the use of acronyms or abbreviations in specialized language, while “political cant” refers to the use of political jargon or buzzwords to manipulate public opinion. “Cantankerous” is an adjective used to describe someone who is ill-tempered, quarrelsome, or difficult to deal with. A cantankerous person may be easily annoyed, argumentative, and generally unpleasant to be around. The term is often used to describe older people who are set in their ways and resistant to change, but it can apply to anyone who exhibits such behavior.