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

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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

Noun 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 Personal preference aside, is there anything truly wrong with sharing your sleeping quarters with your beloved canine? Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "Is It OK to Let Your Dog Sleep in Bed?," 11 Dec. 2020 This year, competitors will still take turns showcasing their canine’s abilities, but public spectators are absent from the spectacle. Patrick Connolly,, "Thousands of dogs in Orlando for AKC National Championship," 11 Dec. 2020 Magic has helped in other ways too as folks seeing her dog stop to talk to her about her canine. Carol Cain, Detroit Free Press, "Autism Alliance hopes to be the catalyst for 100K jobs in Michigan," 19 Sep. 2020 Clinics in early January started seeing a significant jump in dogs with kennel cough, or canine infectious tracheobronchitis, said Dr. Sara Lavery of Pet Emergency Treatment. Tess Williams, Anchorage Daily News, "Kennel cough is ripping through Anchorage dog parks, and veterinarians recommend social distancing for pets," 27 Jan. 2021 Military dog-handlers the world over have parachuted with their dogs for decades; here’s a Colombian canine doing it in 2015, for example. Christina Mackenzie, Popular Science, "This new harness lets military dogs parachute safely and with style," 4 Jan. 2021 To reflect the dire wolf’s now lonely perch on its very own branch of the canine evolutionary tree, researchers propose giving it a new scientific name: Aenocyon dirus. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, "Dire Wolves Weren’t Actually Wolves, DNA Analysis Reveals," 15 Jan. 2021 The canine set comes to mind just now, with the Warriors set to play the Clippers at Chase Center Wednesday night. Bruce Jenkins,, "Unleash the hound: It’s Warriors’ Draymond Green against the Clippers," 5 Jan. 2021 President Donald Trump on Wednesday pardoned a former Maryland police officer who served 10 years in prison in a police brutality case after her canine partner attacked a man suspected of burglary. Kristine Phillips, USA TODAY, "Trump pardons former officer convicted in police brutality, dog bite case," 24 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective If someone was casting an all-canine version of a Cheech and Chong movie, Archie would have been a shoo-in. Washington Post, "We had our dog’s DNA tested. We’re not sure we believe the results.," 13 Dec. 2020 This new analysis of both canine and human DNA reveals new details of our evolving relationship with our furry friends. Rasha Aridi, Smithsonian Magazine, "How Dogs and Humans Evolved and Migrated in Tandem," 4 Nov. 2020 Push the lever, and a dozen ice-slices tumbled out with almost canine enthusiasm. James Lileks, Star Tribune, "When your fridge says no," 1 Nov. 2020 At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, animal shelters across the country were emptied as people fostered and adopted canine companions to keep them company while staying home. Elizabeth Rhodes, Travel + Leisure, "These Are the 100 Most Popular Dog Names of 2020," 14 Oct. 2020 Multiple police cars, officers, and even canine units were searching for the man. Courtney King And Maggy Mcdonel, The Enquirer, "Officers search woods near Museum Center for nearly an hour for man they say had a stolen gun," 8 Sep. 2020 The original book, which focused on a canine named George who barks only after much prodding, has sold more than 300,000 copies. Peter Tonguette, The Christian Science Monitor, "Jules Feiffer, a stubborn pooch, and a children’s counting book," 1 June 2020 Bray and Robinson were approaching the Sierra Blanca Checkpoint Station when a border patrol canine unit alerted agents to their vehicle, the release said. Madeline Holcombe, CNN, "Cleveland Browns player Gregory Robinson arrested for allegedly possessing 157 pounds of marijuana in a rental car," 20 Feb. 2020 After moving into a luxurious hotel, canine Papi tries to help one of his puppies feel more special. Los Angeles Times, "Movies on TV for Oct. 6-12: ‘Throne of Blood’ and more," 4 Oct. 2019

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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Time Traveler for canine

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for canine

Last Updated

19 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Canine.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

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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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Comments on canine

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