can·​yon | \ ˈkan-yən How to pronounce canyon (audio) \
variants: or less commonly

Definition of canyon

1 : a deep narrow valley with steep sides and often with a stream flowing through it
2 : something resembling a canyon the city's concrete canyons

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for canyon


col, couloir, defile, flume, gap, gill [British], gorge, gulch, gulf, kloof [South African], linn [chiefly Scottish], notch, pass, ravine, saddle

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of canyon in a Sentence

as the scouts made their way through the canyon, they marveled at the sheer walls of rock on both sides

Recent Examples on the Web

But the National Park Service took a few millenniums to catch up with civilization and bring the canyon into its fold. Catharine Hamm,, "Escapes: On D-day, we remember the man who bore the weight of the world," 6 June 2019 On the east end of the island, the Cathedral site comprises a series of coral formations and canyons populated by angelfish, parrotfish, and other critters. Katherine Cusumano, Condé Nast Traveler, "Bermuda Snorkeling Guide: 9 Best Dive Sites On The Island," 31 May 2019 Then there’s Valles Marineris, a canyon thought to be a crack in Mars’s crust formed as the planet cooled, expanded in parts by erosion. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "The Tourist's Guide to Space," 12 Mar. 2019 Kennecott's operation required construction of a 196-mile railroad through mountain canyons to Cordova. Tom Kizzia, Anchorage Daily News, "Amid the ruins of the Kennecott mine, a quiet new look at a unique slice of history," 26 June 2018 These public lands managed by the BLM comprise more than 245 million surface and 700 million subsurface acres of desert, grasslands, canyons, and forests in Western states including Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, and Montana. Maia Wikler, Teen Vogue, "Activists Protest Bureau of Land Management Leasing That Allow Oil and Gas Drilling on Public Lands," 15 Apr. 2019 They were airlifted to safety after being found in a canyon between two waterfalls, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Office. Daisy Hernandez, Popular Mechanics, "This Is Why You Should Always Pack a LifeStraw," 14 Apr. 2019 In Utah, a semi-trailer slid off an icy highway in a canyon and hit a deputy, sending him to the hospital with serious injuries and closing the road. Gillian Flaccus, The Seattle Times, "Snow in San Francisco? Mild cities don’t escape winter storm," 6 Feb. 2019 In one early demo of the Reach platform, de la Peña and her team captured a landscape in Utah canyon country, a lot of sandstone and open sky. Ryan Bradley, WSJ, "How Nonny de la Peña, the “Godmother of VR,” Is Changing the Mediascape," 3 Nov. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'canyon.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of canyon

1834, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for canyon

American Spanish cañón, probably alteration of obsolete Spanish callón, augmentative of calle street, from Latin callis footpath

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about canyon

Statistics for canyon

Last Updated

10 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for canyon

The first known use of canyon was in 1834

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for canyon



English Language Learners Definition of canyon

: a deep valley with steep rock sides and often a stream or river flowing through it


can·​yon | \ ˈkan-yən\

Kids Definition of canyon

: a deep valley with steep sides and often a stream flowing through it

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on canyon

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with canyon

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for canyon

Spanish Central: Translation of canyon

Nglish: Translation of canyon for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of canyon for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about canyon

Comments on canyon

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


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!