• 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 canonicals

Historical Examples

  • Hogarth quarrelled with Churchill, and drew him as a bear in canonicals.

    Leading Articles on Various Subjects

    Hugh Miller

  • But when you are out of your canonicals, the case is altered.

    Red Gauntlet

    Sir Walter Scott

  • The reverend Duche appeared in his canonicals attended by his clerk.

  • Soldiers clear a path for Lars Pedersson, who appears in canonicals.

    Master Olof

    August Strindberg

  • The same story is told of Swift and four clergymen dressed in canonicals.

    Library Notes

    A. P. Russell

British Dictionary definitions for canonicals


pl n
  1. the vestments worn by clergy when officiating
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  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 canonicals



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