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See more synonyms for canister on Thesaurus.com
  1. a small box or jar, often one of a kitchen set, for holding tea, coffee, flour, and sugar.
  2. Also called canister shot. case shot.
  3. the part of a gas mask containing the neutralizing substances through which poisoned air is filtered.
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Origin of canister

1670–80; < Latin canistrum wicker basket < Greek kánastron, derivative of kánna reed (see cane), with -astron, variant of -tron suffix of instrument (probably from verbal derivatives, as stégastron covering, from stegázein to cover)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for canister

jug, cup, bucket, urn, kettle, bowl, jar, mug, can, vessel, basin, pan, saucepan, pot, container, canister, pail, cask, bottle, package

Examples from the Web for canister

Contemporary Examples of canister

Historical Examples of canister

British Dictionary definitions for canister


  1. a container, usually made of metal, in which dry food, such as tea or coffee, is stored
  2. (formerly)
    1. a type of shrapnel shell for firing from a cannon
    2. Also called: canister shot, case shotthe shot or shrapnel packed inside this
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Word Origin for canister

C17: from Latin canistrum basket woven from reeds, from Greek kanastron, from kanna 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

Word Origin and History for canister


late 15c., "basket," from Latin canistrum "wicker basket" for bread, fruit, flowers, etc., from Greek kanystron "basket made from reed," from kanna (see cane (n.)). It came to mean "metal receptacle" (1711) through influence of can (n.). As short for canister shot, it is attested from 1801, so called for its casing.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper