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


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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 One video shot on Sunday night shows protesters near Tehran's Azadi Square fleeing after a tear gas canister fell by them, AP reports. TheWeek, "Video appears to show Iranian police firing live ammunition at protesters," 13 Jan. 2020 Strapped to a rack on the back of the SUV is a five-gallon gas canister. Jordan Runtagh,, "The Storming of Area 51: A Covert Journey to the Heart of America’s Worst-Kept Secret," 13 Jan. 2020 Shahid Hussain, a 25-year-old history major, said police broke windows in his dormitory and lobbed a tear gas canister inside., "“We are protesting against the new citizenship law. They are saying if you don’t have any proof” of citizenship, “they will send us out of India,“ said 15-year-old Mohammad Shehzad.," 18 Dec. 2019 Shahid Hussain, a 25-year-old history major, said police broke the windows of his dormitory and lobbed a tear gas canister inside. NBC News, "Indian students decry police as citizenship protests grow," 17 Dec. 2019 Thursday’s demonstration came days after news emerged that a new victim, Fabiola Campillai, had lost sight in both eyes after being hit in the face by a tear gas canister while waiting at a bus stop to go to her night shift at work. Washington Post, "Chileans who lost eyes in protests demonstrate in capital," 29 Nov. 2019 The other protester was killed when a tear gas canister was fired on Sinak Bridge, hitting him in the head. Samya Kullab And Murtada Faraj,, "3 more protesters killed in central Baghdad," 21 Nov. 2019 Just then, Pastor Ao and another member of his group rushed by carrying a man injured by a tear-gas canister. Andrew Jacobs, New York Times, "Behind Hong Kong’s Protesters, an Army of Volunteer Pastors, Doctors and Artists," 11 Nov. 2019 That year, the deaths of two college students — one who drowned while being tortured by police, the other struck in the head by a tear-gas canister — sparked protests so fervent that the government caved in and agreed to hold direct elections. Victoria Kim, Los Angeles Times, "‘We don’t just study’: Inside Asia’s bloody history of student-led protests," 22 Oct. 2019

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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Time Traveler for canister

Time Traveler

The first known use of canister was in 1692

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Statistics for canister

Last Updated

26 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Canister.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 29 January 2020.

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More Definitions for canister


How to pronounce canister (audio)

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).


to assert without proof or before proving

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