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[kan-uh-nahyz] /ˈkæn əˌnaɪz/
verb (used with object), canonized, canonizing.
Ecclesiastical. to place in the canon of saints.
to glorify.
to make canonical; place or include within a canon, especially of scriptural works:
They canonized the Song of Solomon after much controversy.
to consider or treat as sacrosanct or holy:
They canonized his many verbal foibles and made them gospel.
to sanction or approve authoritatively, especially ecclesiastically.
Archaic. to deify.
Also, especially British, canonise.
Origin of canonize
1350-1400; Middle English. See canon1, -ize
Related forms
canonization, noun
canonizer, noun
supercanonization, noun
uncanonization, noun
uncanonize, verb (used with object), uncanonized, uncanonizing. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for canonise
Historical Examples
  • The pope must canonise some better saints for us, for all we have now are worn out.

    The Phantom Ship Frederick Marryat
  • Your pleasure will be my death, and then you'll canonise me perhaps?

    Droll Stories, Complete Honore de Balzac
  • It was even proposed that the Pope should canonise Plato as a saint.

  • Formerly we used to canonise our great men; nowadays we vulgarise them.

    Reviews Oscar Wilde
  • Yet for some reason the Church, for which he did so much, has never seen fit to canonise this great Pope.

    The Rise of the Mediaeval Church Alexander Clarence Flick
  • They will not call the fraudulent the fortunate, nor canonise him as successful, who has gotten his wealth by underhand means.

British Dictionary definitions for canonise


verb (transitive)
(RC Church) to declare (a person) to be a saint and thus admit to the canon of saints
to regard as holy or as a saint
to sanction by canon law; pronounce valid
Derived Forms
canonization, canonisation, noun
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 canonise



late 14c., "to place in the canon or calendar of saints," from Old French cannonisier and directly from Medieval Latin canonizare, from Late Latin canon "church rule" (see canon (n.1)). Related: Canonized; cannonizing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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