can·​is·​ter | \ ˈka-nə-stər How to pronounce canister (audio) \
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

Both use the explosive chemical ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion to inflate the bags in a crash, and both can blow apart metal canisters that hold the chemical. Tom Krisher, The Seattle Times, "Driver hurt by air bag shrapnel as investigation drags on," 20 Feb. 2019 On Wednesday, the police also fired 150 canisters of tear gas and, for the first time in decades, rubber bullets. New York Times, "For Hong Kong’s Youth, Protests Are ‘a Matter of Life and Death’," 17 June 2019 Police pushed back, hitting the protesters with batons, rubber bullets, pepper spray, and more than 150 canisters of tear gas. Keith Bradsher,, "Protesters return to Hong Kong’s streets, rejecting leader’s apology," 16 June 2019 But the vast majority of protesters were unarmed and peaceful, using umbrellas and goggles to shield themselves from the 150 canisters of tear gas fired at them by the police. Isabella Steger, Quartz, "The problem with calling Hong Kong’s protests a riot goes back to a colonial-era law," 16 June 2019 The former water manager, identified Friday by the Twin Falls Times-News as Tom Young, 62, was found dead at his home with a canister of unknown gas, later identified as nitrogen gas. Katy Moeller, idahostatesman, "Mayor feared water poisoning after death of fired worker but first test finds none | Idaho Statesman," 25 May 2018 Three air sampling canisters have been placed at the Winton Terrace Recreation Center, the firehouse on Circle Road and Winton Hills Academy for residents to capture the area during episodes of serious odors. Cameron Knight,, "Winton Terrace air quality: No health risks detected, more work to be done," 11 June 2019 All the sailors in the Cup carry a knife to cut themselves free of entanglements, along with an emergency oxygen canister that contains about a dozen gulps of air. Luke O'brien, Town & Country, "Hot Pursuit," 1 Sep. 2013 In Marseille, an elderly woman died after being hit by a tear-gas canister at her window in Marseille. Noemie Bisserbe, WSJ, "France’s Macron, Astride the Globe, Overlooked Swelling Anger at Home," 7 Dec. 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

13 Jul 2019

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 How to pronounce canister (audio) \

Kids Definition of canister

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

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Comments on canister

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


food or victuals

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