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

Other Words from canonical

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

Examples of canonical in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web For more information about canonical metadata, refer to this Google SEO link. Maryam Jameel, ProPublica, 19 Jan. 2022 This trailblazing play, about a Black Chicago family struggling for a piece of the American dream, has become a canonical work of 20th century drama. Los Angeles Times, 7 Jan. 2022 The story of the discovery and recovery of a treasure chest of letters, diaries, poems and manuscripts, penned in the tiny meticulous handwriting by the beloved, pathfinding, canonical English writers, the incredible Brontë sisters, reads like ... William Booth, Anchorage Daily News, 2 Jan. 2022 These are all canonical accounts, familiar to anyone who has even cursorily read the New Testament. Casey Cep, The New Yorker, 24 Dec. 2021 The puckish revisions cast canonical history in a new light, but their primary aim is to delight, as only grand displays of inspiration can. Sam Sacks, WSJ, 17 Dec. 2021 After meeting with canonical law experts Thursday, Schave and Cooper said there may not be much the community can do to keep the remaining Dominican nuns from leaving the monastery. Los Angeles Times, 3 Dec. 2021 Such nice things cannot be said for BananaDrama’s performance of the same now-canonical tune. Brian Moylan, Vulture, 11 Feb. 2021 The missing piece ultimately tells us more than the canonical body could ever hope to say. Jessica Ferri, Los Angeles Times, 6 Dec. 2021

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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Time Traveler for canonical

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near canonical



canonical age

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Last Updated

24 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Canonical.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for canonical



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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