as in doctrine
a statement or body of statements concerning faith or morals proclaimed by a church members of the church must abide by its canons

Synonyms & Similar Words

as in law
a collection or system of rules of conduct the ABA Model Code of Professional Responsibility is a lawyer's canon

Synonyms & Similar Words

Synonym Chooser

How is the word canon distinct from other similar nouns?

Some common synonyms of canon are law, ordinance, precept, regulation, rule, and statute. While all these words mean "a principle governing action or procedure," canon suggests in nonreligious use a principle or rule of behavior or procedure commonly accepted as a valid guide.

the canons of good taste

When might law be a better fit than canon?

While in some cases nearly identical to canon, law implies imposition by a sovereign authority and the obligation of obedience on the part of all subject to that authority.

obey the law

When is it sensible to use ordinance instead of canon?

The meanings of ordinance and canon largely overlap; however, ordinance applies to an order governing some detail of procedure or conduct enforced by a limited authority such as a municipality.

a city ordinance

When can precept be used instead of canon?

The synonyms precept and canon are sometimes interchangeable, but precept commonly suggests something advisory and not obligatory communicated typically through teaching.

the precepts of effective writing

In what contexts can regulation take the place of canon?

Although the words regulation and canon have much in common, regulation implies prescription by authority in order to control an organization or system.

regulations affecting nuclear power plants

When would rule be a good substitute for canon?

In some situations, the words rule and canon are roughly equivalent. However, rule applies to more restricted or specific situations.

the rules of the game

When could statute be used to replace canon?

While the synonyms statute and canon are close in meaning, statute implies a law enacted by a legislative body.

a statute requiring the use of seat belts

Thesaurus Entries Near canon

Cite this Entry

“Canon.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on canon

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