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

Mathew Cabral filled about a dozen canisters with diesel, but not for his own use. Gianluca Mezzofiore, CNN, "People are leaving their cars at gas stations as fuel runs out in Florida ahead of Hurricane Dorian's arrival," 30 Aug. 2019 The reality star, 35, uses the sleek, airtight canisters to store snacks, nuts, and her impressive array of cereals in her color-coded, expertly labeled kitchen. Katie Macdonald,, "Khloé Kardashian Uses These OXO Containers for Her Pantry — and They Just Got a Major Upgrade," 19 Aug. 2019 Anything, without presumption, can be Prada-fied, from lipstick canisters to classic cars, from Belle du Jour to Frankenstein. Vogue, "The Women Designers Who Changed The Way We Dress," 14 Aug. 2019 Officers said 800 canisters were used during protests on Monday alone, and journalists and protesters say many suffered skin irritation and internal injuries as a result. Fox News, "US, China spar over Hong Kong after ‘thuggish regime’ remarks as activists launch latest airport protest," 10 Aug. 2019 Officers said 800 canisters were fired just on Monday, almost as many as all preceding weeks combined. Time Staff, Time, "Hong Kong Protesters Converge on the International Airport for a Three-Day Sit-In," 9 Aug. 2019 Citizens have also pressed the police to explain the effects of being exposed to tear gas, especially in light of suspicions that some canisters fired were well past their expiry dates. Mary Hui, Quartz, "In Hong Kong, almost everyone, everywhere—including pets—is getting tear gassed," 8 Aug. 2019 That in turn was used to make thousands of synthetic images in which canisters sit alone or in piles on high-contrast patterns, as well as in simulated environments including city streets, forest floors, and mud puddles. Tom Simonite, WIRED, "Using AI, and Film, to Track Tear Gas Use Against Civilians," 25 July 2019 Members wanting to play croquet first had to pick tear-gas canisters off the grass. The Economist, "How Egypt conquered croquet," 25 July 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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Dictionary Entries near canister

Canis Major

Canis Minor



can it



Statistics for canister

Last Updated

7 Sep 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).


readily or continually undergoing change

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