in the can


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in the can

1. Successfully completed; ready for public viewing or consumption. Originally used in reference to filmmaking, its use has expanded to any other creative endeavor. With the last chapter of his novel in the can, Jeremy decided to celebrate with a bottle of champagne. The whole movie's in the can, but we've had some issues securing theaters to show it.
2. In the restroom, lavatory, etc. Mike: "Has anyone seen John? I need him to finish that report." Bob: "I think he's in the can."
3. In jail or prison. My uncle spent five years in the can for money laundering. I can't believe I got thrown in the can for an unpaid parking ticket!
See also: can

in the can

1. In the lavatory, as in He can't come to the phone; he's in the can. The related on the can means "sitting on the toilet." The noun can is used for both the room and the toilet. [Slang; c. 1900]
2. Completed, as in About a hundred pages of her next book are in the can. This usage originated in filmmaking to describe a completed motion picture, when film was literally put into a can or canister. [Slang; c. 1930]
3. As an out-of-the-money finisher in a horse race, where a horse comes in fourth or worse. For example, He had no luck that day-every bet ended up in the can. [1960s]
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in the can

If a film or piece of filming is in the can, it has been successfully completed. We had to lie motionless for rehearsal after rehearsal, take after take, until the scene was in the can. We've got the interview in the can. Note: Cinema film is stored in circular metal containers called cans.
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in the can

completed and available for use.
In recording or film-making, something that is in the can has been captured on tape or film.
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in the ˈcan


1 (informal) (especially about filmed or recorded material) finished and ready for use: The next series is in the can and will be on TV next April.We finished the movie, it’s in the can, fantastic! ♢ (figurative) I don’t need to worry about the job — it’s in the can.
This comes from the film/movie industry. After photographic film has been used it is put in a round can.

2 (American English, slang) in prison: He did four years in the can for burglary.
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in the can

Completed and ready for release, as a film or scene of a film.
See also: can