A country of northern North America. The original inhabitants of the region include the Inuit and First Nations. European colonists arrived in eastern Canada in the early 1600s, and the area was claimed by the French and then ceded (1763) to the English after the Seven Years' War. Confederation of the territories and provinces of British North America, which eventually included all land north of the United States, began in 1867 and ended with the addition of Newfoundland in 1949. The Statute of Westminster (1931) confirmed Canada's status as an independent Dominion within the Commonwealth. Ottawa is the capital and Toronto the largest city.
Ca·nadi·an (kə-nādē-ən) adj. & n.
Word History: Linguistically, mountains can be made out of molehills, so to speak: words denoting a small thing can, over time, come to denote something much larger. This is the case with Canada, now the name of the second-largest country in the world but having a much humbler origin. Apparently its history starts with the word kanata, which in Huron (an Iroquoian language of eastern Canada) meant "village." Jacques Cartier, the early French explorer, picked up the word and used it to refer to the land around his settlement, now part of Quebec City. By the 18th century it referred to all of New France, which extended from the St. Lawrence River to the Great Lakes and down into what is now the American Midwest. In 1759, the British conquered New France and used the name Quebec for the colony north of the St. Lawrence River, and Canada for the rest of the territory. Eventually, as the territory increased in size and the present arrangement of the provinces developed, Canada applied to all the land north of the United States and east of Alaska.
(click for a larger image)Canada
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.