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[kuh-non-i-kuh l] /kəˈnɒn ɪ kəl/
adjective, Also, canonic
pertaining to, established by, or conforming to a canon or canons.
included in the canon of the Bible.
authorized; recognized; accepted:
canonical works.
Mathematics. (of an equation, coordinate, etc.) in simplest or standard form.
following the pattern of a musical canon.
Linguistics. (of a form or pattern) characteristic, general or basic:
the canonical form of the past tense; a canonical syllable pattern.
canonicals, garments prescribed by canon law for clergy when officiating.
Origin of canonical
1150-1200; Middle English (< Anglo-French) < Medieval Latin canōnicālis, equivalent to canōnic(us) (see canon2) + -ālis -al1
Related forms
canonically, adverb
supercanonical, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for canonically
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • If they were canonically and really excommunicated, then the question falls to the ground.

    The Phantom World Augustin Calmet
  • We were canonically elected and then elevated to the throne of St. Peter.

  • The Moslems do not include French "fizz" amongst the canonically forbidden drinks.

  • The two next classes wear it and are canonically and ceremonially entitled.

    Cultus Arborum Anonymous
  • That they are not canonically and absolutely truthful is perhaps not their fault.

    The Oriental Rug William D. Ellwanger
  • In music of this kind there was no longer a field for the intricate working of canonically constructed voice parts.

    Some Forerunners of Italian Opera

    William James Henderson
  • Though they be not yet one canonically, thanks to your soldiership, the earl is her liege lord, and she is his liege lady.

    Maid Marian Thomas Love Peacock
  • These worthies returned, and informed the pope that Ignatius had been canonically deposed and Photius canonically installed.

  • From that date other parishes began to be canonically erected as such.

    Montreal 1535-1914, Volume II (of 2)

    William Henry Atherton
British Dictionary definitions for canonically


belonging to or included in a canon of sacred or other officially recognized writings
belonging to or in conformity with canon law
according to recognized law; accepted
(music) in the form of a canon
of or relating to a cathedral chapter
of or relating to a canon (clergyman)
Derived Forms
canonically, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for canonically



early 15c., from Medieval Latin canonicalis, from Late Latin canonicus "according to rule," in Church Latin, "pertaining to the canon" (see canon (n.2)). Earlier was canonial (early 13c.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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