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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for canister


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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 a hard object, perhaps a tear gas canister, struck his right eye, tearing his retina., 5 Sep. 2021 Wanderlust in the wilderness Remotely located in the Wallowa Mountains of Eastern Oregon, the Minam River Lodge welcomes dogs with a canister of high-quality dog food, pet bowls and a comfy pet bed in luxury cabins dotting the landscape. Jean Chen Smith, The Enquirer, 22 July 2021 Place the caulk canister snuggly in the frame of the caulking gun. Kelly Allen, House Beautiful, 12 Aug. 2021 Prosecutors didn't say how Doolin obtained the canister or the handcuffs. Marshall Cohen, CNN, 8 July 2021 Bagless vacuums, or canister vacuums, also need to be emptied regularly. Catie Parrish, Better Homes & Gardens, 29 June 2021 Dyson canister vacuums are easy to maneuver, lightweight and quiet during use. Simon Books,, 10 Apr. 2021 Stick vacuums, which are recognizable thanks to their rigid, stick-like necks, are more lightweight and manageable than canister or upright vacuums, and many are even cordless, saving you from having to search around for an outlet. Camryn Rabideau, Forbes, 17 May 2021 Encased in a sleek, ceramic canister, this option will add a contemporary touch to any outdoor space. Kelsey Mulvey, Southern Living, 12 May 2021

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About canister

Time Traveler for canister

Time Traveler

The first known use of canister was in 1692

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near canister



can it

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for canister

Last Updated

13 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Canister.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Sep. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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

More from Merriam-Webster on canister

Nglish: Translation of canister for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of canister for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about canister


Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!