• synonyms


[kuh-non-i-kuh l]
adjective Also ca·non·ic.
  1. pertaining to, established by, or conforming to a canon or canons.
  2. included in the canon of the Bible.
  3. authorized; recognized; accepted: canonical works.
  4. Mathematics. (of an equation, coordinate, etc.) in simplest or standard form.
  5. following the pattern of a musical canon.
  6. Linguistics. (of a form or pattern) characteristic, general or basic: the canonical form of the past tense; a canonical syllable pattern.
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  1. canonicals, garments prescribed by canon law for clergy when officiating.
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Origin of canonical

1150–1200; Middle English (< Anglo-French) < Medieval Latin canōnicālis, equivalent to canōnic(us) (see canon2) + -ālis -al1
Related formsca·non·i·cal·ly, adverbsu·per·ca·non·i·cal, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for canonically

Contemporary Examples of canonically

Historical Examples of canonically

  • 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.

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

    The Oriental Rug

    William D. Ellwanger

British Dictionary definitions for canonically



  1. belonging to or included in a canon of sacred or other officially recognized writings
  2. belonging to or in conformity with canon law
  3. according to recognized law; accepted
  4. music in the form of a canon
  5. of or relating to a cathedral chapter
  6. of or relating to a canon (clergyman)
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Derived Formscanonically, 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

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.).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper