can·​is·​ter | \ˈka-nə-stər \
variants: or less commonly cannister

Definition of canister 

1 : an often cylindrical container for holding a usually specified object or substance a film canister

2 : encased shot for close-range artillery fire

3 : a perforated metal box for gas masks with material to adsorb, filter, or detoxify airborne poisons and irritants

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Synonyms for canister


barrel, can, drum, tin

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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

Then, 20 years after the original film wrapped, 16mm film canisters containing the film were found in New Orleans, and Sandi got a call. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "Netflix’s Shirkers is a punk feminist documentary gem," 26 Oct. 2018 In the pharmacy’s back room police found gas canisters like the type used for camp stoves. Kirsten Grieshaber, The Seattle Times, "Police: So far no indication of IS link to Cologne attack," 16 Oct. 2018 The perks of the lightweight machine are its detachable canister for portable cleaning, swivel steering, and anti-allergy seal. Collier Sutter, House Beautiful, "People Are Obsessed With This $150 Vacuum From Amazon," 2 Oct. 2018 Needless to say, the enormous bag has obvious Insta appeal, especially when contrasted with Jacquemus’s so-tiny-you-just-might-miss-it canister bag, which also debuted on the runway today. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "Simon Porte Jacquemus Knows You Love His Straw Hats—Now He Has Enormous Straw Bags, Too," 24 Sep. 2018 Police arrived to break up the demonstration, leading the protesters to bring out smoke canisters, according to WRAL. Suzannah Weiss, Teen Vogue, "University of North Carolina — Chapel Hill Students Topple Confederate Statue," 21 Aug. 2018 Garbage duty arguably beats out lugging a heavy canister around and crouching to get fur balls and moldy Cheerios out from under the couch. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "iRobot’s Roomba Robotic Vacuum Is More Than $75 Off on Amazon Today," 16 Aug. 2018 Kim at a lubricant factory The leader was all smiles while watching an unknown substance squeeze out of a machine and into a blue canister at the Chonji Lubricant Factory. Katherine Lam, Fox News, "Kim Jong Un's bizarre North Korea propaganda photos," 13 Aug. 2018 These rods are bundled together into what’s called a fuel assembly, which is in a basket, inside a canister. Rachel Becker, The Verge, "Have nuclear fuel transportation cask, will travel," 3 Aug. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'canister.' 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 canister

1692, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for canister

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

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Dictionary Entries near canister

Canis Major

Canis Minor



can it



Statistics for canister

Last Updated

30 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for canister

The first known use of canister was in 1692

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More Definitions for canister



English Language Learners Definition of canister

: a container with a lid that is used for keeping dry products

: a plastic or metal container that is used for keeping a roll of film

: a metal case that contains gas or chemical substances and that bursts when it is fired from a gun


can·​is·​ter | \ˈka-nə-stər \

Kids Definition of canister

: a small box or can for holding a dry product canisters of flour

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