10th cent. From Latin cantare "to sing," "to chant." From Latin canare "to sing" and frequentive suffix -tare (see note under faltar for origin).
From Proto-Italic *kan-e(je)- 'id.' From Proto-Indo-European *kh2n-e- 'id.'
Romance: Western Vulgar Latin: Asturian cantar, Portuguese cantar, Galician cantar, Catalan cançó, French chanter, Italian cantare; Eastern Vulgar Latin: Aromanian cãntu, Romanian cânta; Sardinian: cantariOriginally canare meant "to sing" while cantare, with -tare added, was more forceful. Over time the impact of cantare was lost and began to match the meaning of canare. Thus, canare was replaced by cantare. When later speakers wanted to indicate force and frequency to the verb, they once again added -tare to cantare to form cantitare - unaware that their ancestors had created cantare from canare to fill that purpose. Cantitare has not survived in Spanish.