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Cancer sun sign: Personality traits, love compatibility and more

Here’s everything you need to know about Cancer, including their personality traits and potential for connection with other signs.
Katty Huertas / TODAY
Katty Huertas / TODAY

As a fourth sign of the zodiac and the first water sign in the celestial lineup, Cancers are known for being in tune with their often powerful emotions. They're ruled by their intuition and gut feelings — which often prove to be trusty compasses.

The word “Cancer” translates from Latin to English as “crab,” which is the symbol of the sign. Cancer season also marks the start of another season: summer in the Northern Hemisphere and winter in the Southern Hemisphere, lasting from June 21 to July 22.

The cardinal sign is known to be protective of their hearts and energy. They often hide their innermost selves under their metaphorical hard shells to ensure they remain safe at all times. 

Nurturing and loyal, Cancers are also protective of their loved ones. While reserved, they stand on a foundation of strength – and aren't afraid to act when they feel it's necessary.

The symbol of the crab offers a key to understanding Cancers' preternatural ability to know things without knowing how they know them. Crabs wander about at night, crawling sideways. They have the ability to observe and see life from a different viewpoint than others, due to their sideways march. In the sign, this translates to creative, artistic and intuitive minds, with the power of (sometimes psychic) perception.

Cancers are also known to be an emotional — and moody — sign. Ruled by the Moon, Cancer's emotions are as changing as the moon's phases.

For astrologer and author of “Dirtbag Astrology: Sign-by-Sign No-Filter Cosmic Truths,” Alberto Toribio, Cancers' changeability is a good thing — they are open to life. “It is a gift to have so many emotions. To want to take action immediately. To feel it all instantly. The zodiac sign Cancer is a reminder to us all that emotions are important to protect and invest in,” Toribio told TODAy.

Thanks to Cancers’ sensitivity to the moon, Toribio said the sign has a connection to the “rhythms of the universe.” Here's what to know about the water sign at work, in love, and compatibility with other signs.

Cancer personality traits

  • Sentimental
  • Emotional
  • Tender
  • Nostalgic
  • Protective
  • Creative
  • Moody

Cancer at work 

Like most cardinal zodiac signs, Cancers take pride in their work — and more than a little part of them wants to be the best at it. They are motivated to work hard not only because of personal satisfaction, but so they can support their loved ones.

You might think their work ethic makes Cancers constantly busy — and while that’s true, the crab always finds time for R&R, knowing that unless they care for themselves, they can’t care for other. 

Dignified and proud, Cancers work hard when they’re treated well. However, they’ll argue back if not given the respect they feel they deserve. 

Cancer in love

Cancers are liable to be swept away in romance, though it can be fleeting. As Toribio put it, “They fall for people in a quick and sudden burst. Yet, as quick as they are to fall for someone they’re just as quick to change how they feel.”

Cancers long to get deep. Once they feel secure in the presence of the person they like, they are apt to want to get into a romantic relationship. It just takes a while for them to let this part of themselves be seen.

Cancers' tendency to take a while to open up means that, once they commit, they commit. Cancers are tenacious and willing to see things through — sometimes, giving a relationship too many chances.

A word to the wise: Beware Cancers' pincers. Cancers are capable of pinching those they love when annoyed.

Here’s how Cancer relates to other zodiac signs in friendships, partnerships, and love

Cancer and Aries 

When these cardinal signs link up, they can help the other to reach their fullest potentials. There can be tense moments due to potential jealousies and different ways of expressing emotions, but they’ll choose to work through it and move forward.

Cancer and Taurus 

Cancer and Taurus are one of the most fortuitous pairings. They will opt to join forces and inspire each other creatively. Their connection is likely to be tender and loving, full of softness and merriments. They're likely to feel secure and safe in the others’ company throughout the years.

Cancer and Gemini 

These neighboring signs will look to each other for different perspectives. Gemini will seek emotional understanding from Cancer, who in return looks to the air sign for an intellectual way of processing their feelings. Together, Gemini and Cancer pairing will always be on the lookout for more fun — and they're likely to find it.

Cancer and Cancer

Two Cancers in a relationship translates to two compassionate confidants. They’ll be there dry the other’s tears and simply be there in the good times and the bad. Most likely, they will enjoy treating the other to comfort food and watching nostalgic movies from childhood together.

Cancer and Leo 

When these neighboring signs come together, they will inspire the other to achieve greatness. The only caveat is that Cancer may not be wanting to be in the limelight, like their Leo bestie does. Cancer will move away from being the center of attention and let Leo take the lead. 

Cancer and Virgo 

There is a natural camaraderie that happens when Virgo and Cancer come together. Virgo is the grounding energy that allows the water sign to have a solid shoulder to cry on. The connection will be long-lasting and deep since both parties are invested in helping the other attain happiness.

Cancer and Libra 

The good news is that Cancer and Libra will do anything and everything it takes to make a relationship work and last. The downside is that these two signs can become codependent (due to their desire to be in partnerships) when they align, causing ambiguity and resentment down the road. 

Cancer and Scorpio 

Cancer and Scorpio can become enchanted with the other quite easily, mostly because they both have strong personalities that the other can feed off of and gain wisdom from. As long as they play nice and don’t make jabs with their pincers or stingers, then they’ll get along swimmingly.

Cancer and Sagittarius 

These two zodiac signs can have a lot of fun when they are together. Sagittarius and Cancer share a love of food and nostalgia and like to seek out new places in the world. Both signs like to keep things moving and rarely sit still — especially in each other’s company.

Cancer and Capricorn 

These opposite zodiac signs definitely do not attract the same views. Capricorn can be direct and calculating, whereas Cancer is hesitant with expressing their sentiments and only does so when they feel comfortable. The sea-goat can seem slightly less progressive than Cancer who changes their mind every few days.

Cancer and Aquarius 

This connection can be a little confusing for Cancer, who wears their heart and emotions on their sleeve. Aquarius tends to be more aloof and indirect with their personal feelings. This dynamic may make the crab want to run off in a different direction instead of continuing to partner with austere Aquarius.

Cancer and Pisces 

This is a lovely pairing! When these two water signs unite, they’re able to understand each other on an intuitive and emotional level like no other. Within seconds of meeting, Cancer and Pisces will be able to finish the other’s sentences and share inside jokes that will last a lifetime.

Celebrity Cancers 

  • Kevin Bacon
  • Kristen Bell
  • Busy Philipps
  • Tom Cruise
  • Vin Diesel
  • Harrison Ford
  • Selena Gomez 
  • Ariana Grande
  • Tom Hanks 
  • Mindy Kaling
  • Khloé Kardashian
  • Solange Knowles
  • Cyndi Lauper
  • Priyanka Chopra
  • Princess Diana
  • Lindsay Lohan
  • Sandra Oh 
  • Meryl Streep
  • Jaden Smith 
  • Sofia Vergara
  • Forest Whitaker

…and more!