ca·​nine | \ ˈkā-ˌnīn , 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

At the 142nd Westminster Dog Show, Good Breeding (and Great Style!) Is Everything by Alessandra Codinha and directed by Charlie Engman An afternoon with a prize-winning crop of canines. Vogue, "Our Favorite Longreads From 2018," 21 Dec. 2018 And isn’t that almost as good a feeling as petting the soft, soft fur of a rangy canine? Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "How to Adopt a Retired Greyhound Now That Florida Has Voted to Ban Dog-Race Betting," 8 Nov. 2018 Researchers in Japan, however, have figured out how to command a canine's attention and even direct its movements from a remote vantage point, using a light-emitting vest. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Scientists Made a Remote-Control Dog with a Vest and Some Lights (and a Dog)," 5 Nov. 2018 In the three years the conservation program has been active, not a single canine has yet been lost to injury or illness. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian, "It’s Pooches vs. Poachers in the Fight Against Wildlife Smugglers," 22 June 2018 Relief came after a TSA canine was brought in to speed up screening. Kevin Spear,, "Orlando airport's security waits are better, officials say, but there can still be long lines," 25 May 2018 Today, the five year-old pup has grown into a happy and strong canine. Rebecca Shinners, Country Living, "This Disabled Rescue Pup Is About to Completely Steal Your Heart," 14 May 2015 So when the scientists put her in a lab cage and shut the lights off for the evening, this highly intelligent canine manages to escape and return to her family. Nathan Mattise, Ars Technica, "Laika: Forget historic tragedy, this first space dog saves alien planets," 14 Oct. 2018 With the unnamed canine making his memorable cameo, the first concerto is animated by simple but affecting moments of locomotion: recurring walking paces inflected by felicitous hesitation steps artfully in phase with Bach’s pulsing music. Robert Greskovic, WSJ, "‘The Six Brandenburg Concertos’ Review: Falling Short of Bach," 5 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Best of all, feline and canine customers usually ignore thorny political questions such as Taiwan, emphasizing issues like walks and mail personnel instead. Nathaniel Taplin, WSJ, "Is Marriott in China Barking Up the Wrong Tree?," 18 Jan. 2019 Here, Buddy, his friend and the family canine head into the woods to find a Christmas tree: Morning. Danny Heitman, WSJ, "An Ode to Holiday Companionship," 21 Dec. 2018 Etsy shop Sacred Forests will whip up a personalized watercolor painting of either feline or canine companions. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "What Do I Want for Christmas? Take This Quiz to Find Out the Answer," 30 Nov. 2018 Lake County Deputy Sheriff James Simmons and his canine partner, Eyk, followed Winters into the pond. Dan Wine,, "Man hid in Tavares pond, tried to drown police dog during arrest, authorities say," 22 June 2018 Pasco K9 Deputy Patrick Bingham and his canine partner Benco located the gun in a wooded area, the news site reported. Fox News, "Detective's gun found after he left it in Burger King bathroom, suspect arrested," 10 June 2018 Westerville police officer Eric Joering's canine partner, Sam, is going home to live with the fallen officer's family, a small comfort for the three young girls who lost their father Saturday. Jessie Balmert,, "Westerville shooting: Police dog to stay with family of slain police officer," 13 Feb. 2018 To find and identify the dead as quickly as possible, Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea has called in nearly 200 search personnel, along with canine teams trained to find human remains. Erin Ailworth, WSJ, "After Paradise Fire, a Hunt for Human Remains Among the Ashes," 16 Nov. 2018 According to AWF’s latest figures, of the 27 poaching busts made in Tanzania in the past 12 months, 22 have been attributed to canine teams turning criminals over to the Tanzanian Wildlife Authority. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian, "It’s Pooches vs. Poachers in the Fight Against Wildlife Smugglers," 22 June 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

7 Feb 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 \

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

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