The Meaning of Canard: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of canard? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word canard, including its definition, etymology, usage, and more!

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What does the word canard mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary as well as the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language and Collins English Dictionary, the word canard is a noun that refers to some groundless rumor or belief, or false, fabricated or unfounded report or story. It can also refer to a type of airplane that has horizontal stabilizing and control surfaces in front of supporting surfaces or a small airfoil in front of the wings on an aircraft that can increase its performance. This was first used on an early airplane with a rudder and pusher engine, and utilized the horizontal stabilizing surfaces near the fuselage of an aircraft for the short winglike control surface.. Canard is two syllables – ca-nard, and the pronunciation of canard is kə-ˈnärd.

Many other languages also contain words that mean canard. You may notice that some of these words look quite similar to the word canard. This is likely because they share a common origin. Often, cognates, which are words and phrases that look, sound and mean similar things across languages, are formed when two words have a shared ancestral language such as Latin or Greek. This list of translations for the word canard is provided by Word Sense. You could also reference a Spanish Dictionary, German Dictionary, and other online sources.

  •  Bulgarian: клевета‎ (fem.), измислица‎ (fem.)
  •  Russian: у́тка‎ (fem.)
  •  Polish: kaczka dziennikarska‎ (fem.)
  •  Faroese: blaðlygn‎ (fem.)
  •  Portuguese: atoarda‎ (fem.)
  •  Nynorsk: avisand‎ (fem.), and‎ (fem.)
  •  French: canard‎ (masc.) flageolet
  •  German: Zeitungsente‎, Zeitungs, Ente‎ (fem.)
  •  Czech: kachna‎ (fem.)
  •  Bokmål: avisand‎ (masc.) (f), and‎ (masc.) (f)
  •  Korean: 유언비어‎ (yuônbiô)
  •  Spanish: bulo‎ (masc.), filfa‎ (fem.)
  •  Dutch: canard‎
  •  Armenian: հերյուրանք‎, սուտ լուր‎
  •  Hungarian: kacsa‎
  •  Finnish: uutisankka‎, ankka‎

What is the origin of the word canard?

According to Etymonline, the word canard has been used in English since 1851 or 1843 (c19), and comes directly form the French canard, which means both a hoax and a duck. This word comes from the Old French quanart and Old French caner, which likely comes from the sound of a duck’s quack. This word comes from the phrase vendre un canard à moitié/moieté, which literally means to sell half a duck or to half-sell a duck. While this doesn’t necessarily mean anything, it is likely based on a proverb or story in which someone is half-sold a duck and cheated out of something. Therefore, this was adopted to mean a hoax or fabrication. The aeronautical sense of the word comes from the early days of flying, since the aircraft looked stubby and duck-like, which led to the creation of the horizontal stabilizer and primary horizontal control. The Canard River is located near Paris in the district of Canard, near the district of Minas and inhabitants of the District of Grand Pre.

How can the word canard be used in a sentence?

The word canard can be used in many different sentences in the English language. Using words in a sentence is a great way to memorize their meanings, and you could also try making flashcards or quizzes. Below are a small number of example sentences of canard to get you started. 

During the last week of the year, a derogatory story was published about the copyright departments at Harpercollins Publishers, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, and Random House. They assured everyone the story was false, but had to do some serious PR damage control on account of the unjust canard. 

Elephants’ fear of mice is a famous canard – they are not scared, they are simply careful. This absurd story and fable have led people to believe that elephants are safe to play with.

Horton tried to dismiss the daddy canard of a story that was published in the Princeton University newspaper by his former friend Aeron, a classmate at USU who was jealous of his talent. He spread a rumor that he took advantage of other dancers after a show, keeping them as hostages until they agreed to the surrender of the whole body. This was unequivocally false, as attested by the language of the orchestra that played the show that night. 

The satirical newspaper published a disclaimer that their stories were canards, but they still received complaints and instructions of proper journalism with every publication. A similar number of people complained about the artwork.

After being told the out of order sign was a canard, Cornwallis drug the worn keys of his instrument into the elevator assembly. When he became trapped, he knew he had fallen into a cruel trap.

What are synonyms and antonyms of canard?

There are many different words that one can use in place of the word canard. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same definition as another word or phrase. Synonyms are useful to know if you are trying to avoid repeating yourself as well as if you would like to expand your vocabulary. This list of synonyms for the word canard is provided by Thesaurus and could be found in Roget’s Thesaurus as well.

  •  bruit
  •  falsehood
  •  fib
  •  exaggeration
  •  spoof
  •  cry
  •  innuendo
  •  whisper
  •  tattle
  •  intelligence
  •  scandal
  •  tidings
  •  fabrication
  •  earful
  •  wire
  •  notoriety
  •  scuttlebutt
  •  fame
  •  news
  •  rumor
  •  fiction
  •  hoax
  •  canard
  •  word
  •  tale
  •  supposition
  •  swindle
  •  story
  •  back-fence talk
  •  false report
  •  rumble
  •  comment
  •  suggestion
  •  invention
  •  gossip
  •  report
  •  repute
  •  lie
  •  dispatch
  •  hearsay
  •  grapevine
  •  breeze
  •  rumour

There are also numerous different words that have the opposite meaning of the word canard, which are called antonyms. Antonyms, or opposite words, are useful to know when you are trying to expand your vocabulary. This list of antonyms for the word canard is also provided by Thesaurus

  •  whole story
  •  legitimacy
  •  certainty
  •  exactitude
  •  correctness
  •  genuineness
  •  fact
  •  gospel truth
  •  inside track
  •  trueness
  •  truth
  •  rectitude
  •  actuality
  •  precision
  •  authenticity
  •  verity
  •  scoop
  •  exactness
  •  truism
  •  honest truth
  •  facts
  •  plain talk
  •  accuracy
  •  reality
  •  unvarnished truth
  •  maxim
  •  factualness
  •  gospel
  •  nitty-gritty
  •  perfection
  •  veracity
  •  axiom
  •  verisimilitude
  •  picture
  •  factualism
  •  rightness
  •  principle
  •  dope
  •  infallibility
  •  score
  •  factuality
  •  case
  •  truthfulness
  •  validity
  •  naked truth

Overall, the word canard means an improbable account, false note or absurd report, usually published without permission and for the purpose of spreading lies to create a sensational report. It is also to refer to a type of aircraft or tailplane, and is a small winglike structure put on the front of the main wings or main wing for stability and to support the stabilization surfaces. This word is of imitative origin in French, and is a derivative of caner, from le canard, which comes from the sound of a duck. 

Sources:

  1. canard: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense 
  2. Canard | Definition of Canard | Merriam-Webster 
  3. canard | Origin and meaning of canard | Online Etymology Dictionary 
  4. TRUTH Synonyms: 86 Synonyms & Antonyms for TRUTH | Thesaurus 
  5. CANARD Synonyms: 8 Synonyms & Antonyms for CANARD | Thesaurus