ca·​nine | \ ˈkā-ˌnīn How to pronounce canine (audio) , British also ˈka-\

Definition of canine

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 [ Middle English, from Latin (dens) caninus canine tooth ] : a conical pointed tooth especially : one situated between the lateral incisor and the first premolar — see tooth illustration
2 : dog sense 1a broadly : canid



Definition of canine (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : of or resembling that of a dog canine loyalty
2 : of or relating to dogs or to the family (Canidae) including the canids canine diseases

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Synonyms for canine

Synonyms: Noun

dog, doggy (or doggie), hound, pooch, tyke (also tike)

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Did You Know?

Dogs are prized for their talents and intelligence but aren't always given credit for their independence. Instead, tales of canine devotion and attachment are legendary; the old Lassie and Rin-Tin-Tin television series featured at least one heroic act of devotion per show. So we often hear people described as having "doglike devotion" or "doglike loyalty". But canine itself, unlike doglike, usually refers to four-legged creatures. Canine is not only an adjective but also a noun. Dogs and their relatives in the Canidae family—the wolves, jackals, foxes, and coyotes—are often called canines. And so are those two slightly pointed teeth a bit to the right and left of your front teeth.

Examples of canine in a Sentence


in the minds of some, the winner of this prestigious dog show has a fair claim to the title of King of the Canines

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The role of Scooby himself will be voiced by Frank Welker, who has portrayed the crime-fighting canine for over a decade. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "Zac Efron, Amanda Seyfried Join Cast of Animated "Scooby-Doo" Film," 23 Mar. 2019 The right gear would allow both canines and their human companions to safely and comfortably move at a faster pace. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "A Team of Guide Dogs Paced This Blind Runner to a History-Making Finish in the 2019 NYC Half Marathon," 20 Mar. 2019 Sully, 2, is specially trained to help Bush with his daily activities, in addition to being a loyal canine companion. Kelli Bender,, "George H.W. Bush Has an Adorable New Service Dog! Here's Everything to Know About Sully," 26 June 2018 This dutiful canine belonged to the man beside him, Vincent Massey. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Queen Elizabeth Once Let a Dog Carry Her Handbag," 1 Mar. 2019 Most of the organization's canines come from shelters, along with a small number of purebreds donated by breeders. The Washington Post,, "For military veterans suffering from PTSD, are service dogs good therapy?," 28 Mar. 2018 Well-trained and properly handled canines can track down bedbugs because, like bomb-sniffing and drug-sniffing dogs, they are taught to home in on the scent. Amanda Greene, Woman's Day, "10 Things You Didn't Know About Bedbugs," 14 Mar. 2017 Dogs are welcome to join their humans and take in the game from a special canine section behind the North End Zone., "Digest (July 13): Wayne Rooney making D.C. United debut at new stadium," 13 July 2018 Of course the true stars of Dog Days are the canines themselves. Kelli Bender,, "Ken Marino's Feel-Good, Canine-Packed Movie Will Change the Meaning of 'Dog Days of Summer'," 15 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Eventually a police canine handler approaches, and the dog lunges and gets a mouthful of Hinton's clothing. Crimesider Staff, CBS News, "Video shows officers tackle, punch North Carolina man," 30 May 2018 Oak Brook police canine officer Andrew Franczak and his animal partner, Becks, will visit the library at 10 a.m. July 9 for a demonstration of Becks’ skills, including drug detection, basic obedience and bite training. Chuck Fieldman,, "Oak Brook library to host canine-themed programs for Dog Days of Summer," 2 July 2018 Rarity and super-popularity are both seen as mixed blessings in canine competition, and sometimes in the purebred dog world as a whole. Jennifer Peltz, The Seattle Times, "A breed apart: Rare Westminster dogs have ring to themselves," 13 Feb. 2019 Light- or short-coated dogs can get sunburned, so ask your vet for recommendations on canine sunscreen because some human sunscreens are toxic if your pet licks them off. Arricca Sansone, Country Living, "Everything You Need to Know About Hiking With Your Dog," 12 Feb. 2019 One of the principal non-canine characters turns out to be from Cincinnati. Carl Weiser,, "Spoiler alert! New Wes Anderson movie gives a surprising shout-out to Cincinnati," 9 Apr. 2018 The canine handler then pulls him down, the video shows, and at least one other officer can be seen punching him while others hold his legs trying to subdue him. Jonathan Drew, The Seattle Times, "Man sues state over troopers’ role in videotaped beating," 24 July 2018 Typically, this involves a canine handler, whose dog sniffs out the cars while another agent asks for proof of citizenship from passengers. Skye Parrott, Marie Claire, "What It's Like to Be a Female Border Patrol Agent," 5 Dec. 2017 Just like their owners during flu season, dogs across the country have come down with flu-like symptoms due to widespread canine influenza. Jessica Leigh Mattern, Country Living, "The Dog Flu Is Spreading Across the Country for the First Time In Years," 16 Aug. 2018

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

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First Known Use of canine


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1607, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for canine


Latin caninus, from canis dog — more at hound

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Statistics for canine

Last Updated

18 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for canine

The first known use of canine was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for canine



English Language Learners Definition of canine

 (Entry 1 of 2)

formal : a dog
: a pointed tooth



English Language Learners Definition of canine (Entry 2 of 2)

: of or relating to dogs


ca·​nine | \ ˈkā-ˌnīn How to pronounce canine (audio) \

Kids Definition of canine

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a pointed tooth next to the incisors
2 : a domestic dog or a related animal (as a wolf or fox)



Kids Definition of canine (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : of or relating to the domestic dog or a related animal canine behavior
2 : like or typical of a dog canine loyalty


ca·​nine | \ ˈkā-ˌnīn, British also ˈkan-ˌīn\

Medical Definition of canine

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a conical pointed tooth especially : one situated between the lateral incisor and the first premolar
2 : any member of the family Canidae : dog



Medical Definition of canine (Entry 2 of 2)

: of or relating to dogs or to the family Canidae

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More from Merriam-Webster on canine

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with canine

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for canine

Spanish Central: Translation of canine

Nglish: Translation of canine for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of canine for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about canine

Comments on canine

What made you want to look up canine? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move or proceed with twists and turns

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