Definition of canon
- the Chaucer canon
- the canon of great literature
- the canons of good taste
- according to newspaper canon … a big story calls for a lot of copy
- —A. J. Liebling
Cannon and canon are occasionally confused by writers, but the two words have independent origins, and do not share a meaning. Cannon is most frequently found used in the sense of "a large gun," and can be traced to the Old Italian word cannone, which means "large tube." Canon, however, comes from the Greek word kanōn, meaning "rule." Although canon has a variety of meanings, it is most often found in the senses of "a rule or law of a church," "an accepted rule," or "a sanctioned or accepted group or body of related works." A loose cannon is "a dangerously uncontrollable person or thing." There are no loose canons.
First Known Use: before 12th centurySee Words from the same year
First Known Use: 13th centurySee Words from the same year
What made you want to look up canon? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).