ca·​non·​i·​cal | \ kə-ˈnä-ni-kəl How to pronounce canonical (audio) \

Definition of canonical

1 : of, relating to, or forming a canon canonical scriptures
2 : conforming to a general rule or acceptable procedure : orthodox His proposals were generally accepted as canonical.
3 : of or relating to a clergyman who is a canon
4 : reduced to the canonical form a canonical matrix

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Other Words from canonical

canonically \ kə-​ˈnä-​ni-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce canonically (audio) \ adverb

Examples of canonical in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The provisions to punish them criminally are now contained in the city state’s criminal code, and are separate from the canon law which also imposes canonical penalties, such as defrocking, for predator priests worldwide. Nicole Winfield, The Seattle Times, "Pope requires sex abuse claims be reported in Vatican City," 30 Mar. 2019 Clark's conviction was overturned on appeal in January 2003, and the case has become a canonical example of the consequences of flawed statistical reasoning. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "“Fixed mindsets” might be why we don’t understand statistics," 14 Oct. 2018 Specifically, Vigano accused Francis of rehabilitating McCarrick from canonical sanctions imposed on him by Pope Benedict XVI in 2009 or 2010. Nicole Winfield, The Seattle Times, "Pope to meet US bishops Thursday over abuse scandal," 11 Sep. 2018 Specifically, Viganò accused Francis of rehabilitating McCarrick from canonical sanctions imposed on him by Benedict in either 2009 or 2010, according to his recollection. Frank Miles, Fox News, "Pope to meet with head of US Bishops' Conference over sex abuse, cover-up scandal," 12 Sep. 2018 Such a study, however, would be unthinkable for use in a canonical trial. Fox News, "Pope role in study of Argentine sex abuse case in spotlight," 18 Sep. 2018 As several Ojai regulars pointed out, an anti-canonical message is superfluous at Ojai, which has celebrated the new since Igor Stravinsky and Pierre Boulez were honored guests. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, "The Sonic Fury of the Ojai Music Festival," 24 June 2018 Hare had traipsed up and down a few volcanoes in his time, including in Sicily, and his shrewd eye discerned that the lava fields of Etna were not in fact the canonical black, but rather a black-brown. New York Times, "On Top of Mount Etna, a Lesson in Lava (and Luck)," 18 Jan. 2018 Calls and emails to the Diocese of Como, which is in charge of the seminary and is conducting the canonical investigation, were not returned. Washington Post, "Vatican City still has no policy to fight clergy sex abuse," 1 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'canonical.' 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 canonical

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for canonical

see canon entry 1

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Last Updated

20 May 2019

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Time Traveler for canonical

The first known use of canonical was in the 15th century

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English Language Learners Definition of canonical

: connected with or allowed by the laws of the Christian church
: of or relating to the books that are considered to be part of a religion's official text
: of or relating to the group of books, plays, poems, etc., that are traditionally considered to be very important

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More from Merriam-Webster on canonical

Spanish Central: Translation of canonical

Nglish: Translation of canonical for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of canonical for Arabic Speakers

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