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can·​non ˈka-nən How to pronounce cannon (audio)
plural cannons or cannon
plural usually cannon
: a large, heavy gun usually mounted on a carriage
: a heavy-caliber automatic aircraft gun firing explosive shells
: any device for propelling a substance or object at high speeds
an air cannon
a T-shirt cannon
see also water cannon
or canon : the projecting part of a bell by which it is hung : ear
: the part of the leg in which the cannon bone is found
sports, informal : a very strong throwing arm
While Hershberger had a quick, accurate arm, Lombardi had a cannon.William Nack
a shortstop with a cannon arm


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cannoned; cannoning; cannons

intransitive verb

: to discharge cannon

Example Sentences

Verb The ball cannoned off the goalpost and into the net.
Recent Examples on the Web
In each episode, two celebrities compete against each other in five games — which outside of air cannon cornhole, also include keg curling and other twists on classics. Brenton Blanchet, Peoplemag, 20 Jan. 2023 Over the course of the fight, Williams fired all 760 rounds of 20mm cannon shells the F9F carried, according to an account of the engagement from the US Navy Memorial’s website. Brad Lendon, CNN, 20 Jan. 2023 The chief differences between Bradley Fighting Vehicle and the U.S.'s M1 Abrams tank is its lighter armor and cannon ability. Caitlin Mcfall, Fox News, 14 Jan. 2023 The German Marder has a 20 millimeter auto cannon—and has the weakest firepower of the three vehicles. Sanya Mansoor, Time, 9 Jan. 2023 Jared Goff is the quarterback equivalent of a Revolutionary War cannon. Derrik Klassen, New York Times, 11 Dec. 2022 The sound of the cork releasing from the bottle should be more of a sigh than cannon fire. Mike Desimone And Jeff Jenssen, Robb Report, 30 Dec. 2022 Momoa’s version of loose-cannon comedic quirk seems to owe a debt to Michael Keaton’s Beetlejuice. John Defore, The Hollywood Reporter, 10 Nov. 2022 On a mild night in February, the Puerto Rican artist had been standing at the center of the nearly 20,000-person venue, a tangle of flashing lights and smoke-cannon explosions blaring behind him. Julyssa Lopez, Rolling Stone, 1 Oct. 2022
The cost per shot is cheap, as the ammunition is technically just electricity generated on the spot and not a missile or even cannon round built in a factory and shipped to the battlefield. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, 19 Mar. 2020 Jesse Lingard's toe-poke cannoned back out off the post..., 24 Oct. 2019 Up stepped Van Nistelrooy, but his effort cannoned off the bar., 28 Sep. 2019 Stefano Sabelli let rip from range, but his shot cannoned off Ricardo Rodriguez and seemed destined to find its way into the back of the net., 3 Sep. 2019 Pavel Florin gets backing from Shane Warne A race to be fit Scans later showed no fracture to Smith's arm but the 92mph bouncer that cannoned into the Australian's neck turned out to have had a more lasting effect. Ben Morse, CNN, 19 Aug. 2019 His attempt cannoned off the post; England took a sigh of relief but there was plenty of work still to do., 19 June 2019 Fragments can cannon about above the Earth’s atmosphere for centuries — striking other satellites, and adding their wreckage to the deadly debris fields. Jamie Seidel, Fox News, 16 Aug. 2018 His third and final goal had more than a slice of luck to it, as Ruben Loftus-Cheek's effort from outside of the box cannoned into the back of his right foot and looped into the net., 25 June 2018 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cannon.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History



Middle English canon, from Anglo-French, from Old Italian cannone, literally, large tube, augmentative of canna reed, tube, from Latin, cane, reed — more at cane

First Known Use


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1567, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of cannon was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near cannon

Cite this Entry

“Cannon.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jan. 2023.

Kids Definition


plural cannons or cannon
: a large heavy gun usually mounted on wheels
: an automatic gun of large caliber on an airplane

Medical Definition


can·​non ˈkan-ən How to pronounce cannon (audio)
: the part of the leg in which the cannon bone is found

Biographical Definition


biographical name

Can·​non ˈka-nən How to pronounce Cannon (audio)
Joseph Gurney 1836–1926 Uncle Joe American politician
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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