C.N. Douglas, comp. Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical. 1917.


Cant is the twin sister of hypocrisy.


Cant is the parrot talk of a profession.


Cant is not the vehicle, but the substitute of thought.

Robert Hall.

The affectation of some late authors to introduce and multiply cant words is the most ruinous corruption in any language.


Cant is the voluntary overcharging or prolongation of a real sentiment; hypocrisy is the setting up a pretension to a feeling you never had and have no wish for.


  • ’Tis too much prov’d—that, with devotion’s visage
  • And pious action, we do sugar o’er
  • The devil himself.
  • Shakespeare.

  • To wear long faces, just as if our Maker
  • The God of goodness, was an undertaker,
  • Well pleas’d to wrap the soul’s unlucky mien
  • In sorrow’s dismal crape or bombazine.
  • Dr. Wolcot.

    Is not cant the materia prima of the devil, from which all falsehoods, imbecilities, abominations, body themselves, from which no true thing can come? For cant is itself properly a double-distilled lie, the second power of a lie.


    Those people are often the least worldly on whom they who make the loudest boast of their unworldliness seek basely to affix that opprobrious epithet. For they walk the world with a heart pure as it is cheerful; they are, by that unpretending purity, saved from infection; as there are as many fair and healthy faces to be seen in the smoke and stir of cities as in the rural wilds, so also are there as many fair and healthy spirits.

    Professor Wilson.

    There is such a thing as a peculiar word or phrase cleaving as it were to the memory of the writer or speaker, and presenting itself to his utterance at every turn. When we observe this, we call it a cant word or a cant phrase.


    The superabundance of phrases appropriated by some pious authors to the subject of religion, and never applied to any other purpose, has not only the effect of disgusting persons of taste, but of obscuring religion itself.

    Robert Hall.