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

For the long-time fan, original prints of canonical works will prove a big draw (pardon the pun), as will displays of the historical prints and fabrics that have influenced the modern form. L.m., The Economist, "A magnificent exhibition of manga at the British Museum," 5 June 2019 And just as there’s no doubting the canonical impact of the album, the same can be said for its cover. Zachary Lipez, Washington Post, "How Joy Division’s ‘Unknown Pleasures’ image went from underground album cover to a piece of cultural ubiquity," 14 June 2019 Fallen Order’s new trailer also provides a little more insight into how the game will incorporate the canonical Star Wars universe. Julia Alexander, The Verge, "Watch Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order’s E3 gameplay trailer," 8 June 2019 Each involves a new cast in a new bar, and over the course of the evening, unexpected twists on a canonical text emerge. Nicole Blackwood,, "'Hamlet' by the Back Room Shakespeare Project is not your mother's Shakespeare," 6 June 2019 Anyway, what’s playing for most of the sequence is Mr. Fogerty’s song — not his canonical Creedence version but Ike and Tina Turner’s. Wesley Morris, New York Times, "‘Proud Mary’ has a ‘Proud Mary’ Problem," 19 Jan. 2018 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

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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Statistics for canonical

Last Updated

1 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for canonical

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

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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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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

Comments on canonical

What made you want to look up canonical? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


an act or instance of editing or removing

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