can·​a·​lize | \ ˈka-nə-ˌlīz How to pronounce canalize (audio) \
canalized; canalizing

Definition of canalize

transitive verb

1a : to provide with a canal or channel
b : to make into or similar to a canal
2 : to provide with an outlet especially : to direct into preferred channels

intransitive verb

1 : to flow in or into a channel
2 : to establish new channels

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Examples of canalize in a Sentence

the director of the charity should be canalizing the flow of donations so that the money ends up where it is most needed
Recent Examples on the Web Some became conscious of the role a state could play in intervening in the economy in order to curb and canalize democracy. Zeev Sternhell, Slate Magazine, "The Origins of Anti-Intellectualism," 7 Apr. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'canalize.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of canalize

1830, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

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Time Traveler for canalize

Time Traveler

The first known use of canalize was in 1830

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Cite this Entry

“Canalize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for canalize


variants: or British canalise \ ˈkan-​ᵊl-​ˌīz How to pronounce canalize (audio) \
canalized or British canalised; canalizing or British canalising

Medical Definition of canalize

transitive verb

: to drain (a wound) by forming channels without the use of tubes

intransitive verb

: to develop new channels (as new capillaries in a blood clot)

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