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canons regular

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plural noun
  1. See under canon2(def 2).

Origin of canons regular

Middle English word dating back to 1350–1400


[kan-uh n]
  1. one of a body of dignitaries or prebendaries attached to a cathedral or a collegiate church; a member of the chapter of a cathedral or a collegiate church.
  2. Roman Catholic Church. one of the members (canons regular) of certain religious orders.

Origin of canon2

1150–1200; Middle English; back formation from Old English canōnic (one) under rule < Medieval Latin canōnicus, Latin: of or under rule < Greek kanōnikós. See canon1, -ic
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
British Dictionary definitions for canons regular


  1. a variant spelling of canyon


  1. Christianity a Church decree enacted to regulate morals or religious practices
  2. (often plural) a general rule or standard, as of judgment, morals, etc
  3. (often plural) a principle or accepted criterion applied in a branch of learning or art
  4. RC Church the complete list of the canonized saints
  5. RC Church the prayer in the Mass in which the Host is consecrated
  6. a list of writings, esp sacred writings, officially recognized as genuine
  7. a piece of music in which an extended melody in one part is imitated successively in one or more other partsSee also round (def. 31), catch (def. 33)
  8. a list of the works of an author that are accepted as authentic
  9. (formerly) a size of printer's type equal to 48 point

Word Origin

Old English, from Latin, from Greek kanōn rule, rod for measuring, standard; related to kanna reed, cane 1


  1. one of several priests on the permanent staff of a cathedral, who are responsible for organizing services, maintaining the fabric, etc
  2. Also called: canon regular RC Church a member of either of two religious orders, the Augustinian or Premonstratensian Canons, living communally as monks but performing clerical duties

Word Origin

C13: from Anglo-French canunie, from Late Latin canonicus one living under a rule, from canon 1
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

Word Origin and History for canons regular



"church law," Old English canon, from Old French canon or directly from Late Latin canon "Church law," in classical Latin, "measuring line, rule," from Greek kanon "any straight rod or bar; rule; standard of excellence," perhaps from kanna "reed" (see cane (n.)). Taken in ecclesiastical sense for "decree of the Church." General sense of "standard of judging" is from c.1600. Related: Canonicity.



"clergyman," c.1200, from Anglo-French canun, from Old North French canonie (Modern French chanoine), from Church Latin canonicus "clergyman living under a rule," noun use of Latin adjective canonicus "according to rule" (in ecclesiastical use, "pertaining to the canon"), from Greek kanonikos, from kanon "rule" (see canon (n.1)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper