ca·​non·​i·​cal | \-ni-kəl \

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 \ -​k(ə-​)lē \ adverb

Examples of canonical in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

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 Calls and emails to the Diocese of Como, which is in charge of the seminary and is conducting the canonical investigation, were not returned. Nicole Winfield, Fox News, "Vatican City still has no policy to fight clergy sex abuse," 1 July 2018 That maneuver is part of a canonical story in which state high-school coaches admired Schobert's ability at the annual summer WFCA All-Star Game and encouraged UW coaches to check him out mere days before departing for college. Curt Hogg, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Waukesha West to retire Joe Schobert's jersey number," 28 June 2018 Now that his criminal trial is over Capella will be subject to a canonical hearing, which could lead to him being defrocked. Deutsche Welle, USA TODAY, "Vatican court jails ex-diplomat Italian priest Carlo Alberto Capella for child porn," 23 June 2018 His name wasn’t, in fact, one of the 89 included in 2007’s canonical Mitchell Report., "Exiled by the Cubs, Sammy Sosa Is Enjoying the Life He Wants You to See," 27 June 2018 But Hayes isn’t describing canonical melancholy, the pined-for vision of mortality that poets sometimes indulge in. Dan Chiasson, The New Yorker, "The Politics and Play of Terrance Hayes," 24 June 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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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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