can·​is·​ter ˈka-nə-stər How to pronounce canister (audio)
variants or less commonly cannister
: an often cylindrical container for holding a usually specified object or substance
a film canister
: encased shot for close-range artillery fire
: a perforated metal box for gas masks with material to adsorb, filter, or detoxify airborne poisons and irritants

Examples of canister in a Sentence

she put the store-bought cookies in a fancy canister to make them look homemade
Recent Examples on the Web Modestly sized lidded bowls were joined by dry-goods canisters, pie keepers, pitchers, and measuring cups. Amanda Mull, The Atlantic, 12 Apr. 2024 On Saturday, April 6, investigators entered Mercurio’s home and recovered handcuffs, weapons, two canisters of butane fuel, binoculars, an ISIS flag and more, per the complaint. Emily Palmer, Peoplemag, 9 Apr. 2024 Officers batter protesters with plastic shields, and noxious plumes rise from the street where tear-gas canisters have been deployed. David Peisner, Rolling Stone, 24 Mar. 2024 Michael Hart, 58, of San Diego, is accused of buying coolants in Mexico and smuggling them over the border in his vehicle, concealing the canisters under a tarp and tools. Dionne Searcey, New York Times, 9 Mar. 2024 Both a police and a fire vehicle were damaged by exploding projectile canisters. Elissa Robinson, USA TODAY, 5 Mar. 2024 Because of its everyday applications, canisters of nitrous oxide are widely available at grocery stores, gas stations and elsewhere. Arpan Lobo, Detroit Free Press, 28 Feb. 2024 Email address: Like other Thai parents, they’d been bombarded by formula advertising on television, online and in grocery stores, where a rainbow of boxes and canisters of powdered toddler milk featured teddy bears in graduation caps and giveaways like toys or diapers. Heather Vogell, ProPublica, 21 Mar. 2024 Existing state laws already ban the sale of nitrous oxide canisters for recreational purposes and for any purpose to people under 18. Arpan Lobo, Detroit Free Press, 13 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'canister.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Latin canistrum basket, from Greek kanastron wicker basket, from kanna reed — more at cane

First Known Use

1692, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of canister was in 1692

Dictionary Entries Near canister

Cite this Entry

“Canister.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


variants also cannister
: a small box or can for holding a dry product (as coffee, flour, or sugar)

More from Merriam-Webster on canister

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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