Synonyms of canon

1 a statement or body of statements concerning faith or morals proclaimed by a church
  • members of the church must abide by its canons

Synonyms for canon

Words Related to canon

2 a record of a series of items (as names or titles) usually arranged according to some system
  • the canon of plays that are attributed to William Shakespeare

Synonyms for canon

Words Related to canon

3 a collection or system of rules of conduct
  • the ABA Model Code of Professional Responsibility is a lawyer's canon

Synonyms for canon

Words Related to canon

See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About canon

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

Learn More About canon

Time Traveler for canon

Time Traveler

The first known use of canon was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Thesaurus Entries Near canon




See More Nearby Entries 

Cite this Entry

“Canon.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on canon

Nglish: Translation of canon for Spanish Speakers

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Food

  • a-light
  • Name these cookies!
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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