[ kuh-nal ]
See synonyms for canal on
  1. an artificial waterway for navigation, irrigation, etc.

  2. a long narrow arm of the sea penetrating far inland.

  1. a tubular passage or cavity for food, air, etc., especially in an animal or plant; a duct.

  2. channel; watercourse.

  3. Astronomy. one of the long, narrow, dark lines on the surface of the planet Mars, as seen telescopically from the earth.

verb (used with object),ca·nalled or ca·naled, ca·nal·ling or ca·nal·ing.
  1. to make a canal through.

Origin of canal

First recorded in 1400–50; late Middle English: “waterpipe, tubular passage,” from Latin canālis, perhaps equivalent to can(na) “reed, pipe” (see cane) + -ālis -al1; def. 5 a mistranslation of Italian canali “channels,” the term used by G. V. Schiaparelli

Words Nearby canal Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use canal in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for canal


/ (kəˈnæl) /

  1. an artificial waterway constructed for navigation, irrigation, water power, etc

  2. any of various tubular passages or ducts: the alimentary canal

  1. any of various elongated intercellular spaces in plants

  2. astronomy any of the indistinct surface features of Mars originally thought to be a network of channels but not seen on close-range photographs. They are caused by an optical illusion in which faint geological features appear to have a geometric structure

verb-nals, -nalling or -nalled or US -nals, -naling or -naled (tr)
  1. to dig a canal through

  2. to provide with a canal or canals

Origin of canal

C15 (in the sense: pipe, tube): from Latin canālis channel, water pipe, from canna reed, cane 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