Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

Canton Switzerland

Canton (Switzerland), a word used in Switzerland to denote a subdivision of the country, forming a separate territorial state, having a government of its own; but being at the same time a member of the Swiss Confederation. The derivation of the word is disputed, though it doubtless has some reference to cutting off an angle and so, in a measure, squaring a piece of land. The word in different forms exists in many languages. In Kent (itself an example of the word) a portion of land upon which the right of cutting brush-wood is leased is still called a cant or kant.