Cantonese can refer to:

  • Of, or pertaining to, the people of, or things from, Guangdong Province in China.
  • The major spoken dialect of the people of Guangdong Province. See: Cantonese (linguistics)
  • Cuisine of the style historically popularized in Guangzhou, capitol of Guangdong ("genuine") or, broadly, of immigrants abroad who have origins in Guangdong. See: Cantonese cuisine


The term Cantonese clearly derives its origin from "Canton", the old name given by Westerners to Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong Province. Most likely, it is a metonymy corruption of the Cantonese pronunciation Gwong Dung, the name of the province, which used to be romanized as Kwang Tung. Interestingly, in Japanese, the name of the province is pronounced kanton, which seems to be the onyomi pronunciation of the kanji. This provides us with another clue about the history of this word.

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