AskDefine | Define canon

Dictionary Definition



1 a rule or especially body of rules or principles generally established as valid and fundamental in a field or art or philosophy; "the neoclassical canon"; "canons of polite society"
2 a priest who is a member of a cathedral chapter
3 a ravine formed by a river in an area with little rainfall [syn: canyon]
4 a contrapuntal piece of music in which a melody in one part is imitated exactly in other parts
5 a complete list of saints that have been recognized by the Roman Catholic Church
6 a collection of books accepted as holy scripture especially the books of the Bible recognized by any Christian church as genuine and inspired

User Contributed Dictionary



from (kanón) "rule" or "model", stemming from the Arabic, (qanoon) "law" or "mandate".


IPA: ˈkæn.ən



canon (plural: canons)
  1. A generally accepted principle.
    The trial must proceed according to the canons of law.
  2. A group of literary works that are generally accepted as representing a field.
    "the durable canon of American short fiction" William Styron.
  3. The works of a writer that have been accepted as authentic.
    the entire Shakespeare canon
  4. A eucharistic prayer, particularly, the Roman Canon.
  5. A religious law or body of law decreed by the church.
    We must proceed according to canon law.
  6. An ecclesiastical title.
  7. A piece of music in which the same melody is played by different voices, but beginning at different times.
    Pachelbel’s Canon has become very popular.
  8. In the context of "fandom": The works considered factual or official, usually within a specific franchise, which defines events, characters, etc. that are considered to have existence within the fictional universe.


  • Italian: canone
  • Russian: канон, закон, критерий, принцип
  • Italian: canone
  • Russian: канон, правило
  • Slovak: kánon
  • Italian: canone
  • Russian: канон
  • Swedish: kanon




Extensive Definition

Canon may refer to:
  • Canon (fiction), a body of works considered genuine or official within a fictional universe
  • Canon (company), a Japanese imaging and optical products corporation
  • Canon (liturgy) or the Canon of the Mass, the Eucharistic Prayer of the Roman Rite
  • Canon (music), a contrapuntal composition which employs a melody with one or more imitations
  • Canon (priest), a Christian priest who belongs to one of certain chapters
  • Canons Regular, the oldest and most prestigious order within the Church, the Canonical Order follows the Rule of Augustine, and the Confederated Order is the Order of Canons Regular of St. Augustine, made up of nine congregations. There is also the venerable order of Premontre representing a mediaeval reform and a stricter observance of Canonical Life.
  • Canonesses, the female branch of the Canonical Order, made up of various Congregations.
  • Canon (hymnography), a type of Eastern Orthodox hymn
  • Canon (manga), a shōjo manga by Chika Shiomi
  • Canon, Georgia, a city in Franklin County, Georgia, United States
  • Cañon or canyon, a deep valley between cliffs
Canon may also be used for:

See also

canon in Catalan: Cànon
canon in Czech: Kánon
canon in Danish: Kanon
canon in German: Kanon
canon in Estonian: Kaanon
canon in Spanish: Canon
canon in French: Canon
canon in Korean: 카논
canon in Italian: Kanon
canon in Hebrew: קאנון
canon in Hungarian: Kánon
canon in Dutch: Canon
canon in Japanese: カノン
canon in Norwegian: Kanon (andre betydninger)
canon in Norwegian Nynorsk: Kanon
canon in Polish: Kanon
canon in Russian: Канон
canon in Simple English: Canon
canon in Slovak: Kánon
canon in Serbian: Канон
canon in Finnish: Kaanon
canon in Thai: แคนอน
canon in Chinese: Canon

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Bible, Douay Bible, Festschrift, Grand Penitentiary, Holy Father, Holy Scripture, Holy Writ, King James Version, Procrustean law, Revised Standard Version, Revised Version, Scripture, Sefer Torah, Septuagint, Testament, Torah, Torah scroll, Virginal, Vulgate, a belief, abuna, act, album, ana, analects, anthology, antipope, archbishop, archdeacon, archpriest, article of faith, assize, axiom, barometer, beauties, bill, bishop, bishop coadjutor, breviary, bylaw, cardinal, cardinal bishop, cardinal deacon, cardinal priest, catch, chaplain, check, chrestomathy, church book, coadjutor, code, collectanea, collected works, collection, commandment, compilation, complete works, convention, criterion, curate, dean, decree, decretum, degree, delectus, dictate, dictation, dictum, diocesan, doctrine, dogma, ecclesiarch, edict, enactment, euchologion, euchology, exarch, farse, florilegium, flowers, form, formality, formula, formulary, fugato, fugue, garden, garland, gauge, general principle, golden rule, graduated scale, guideline, guiding principle, hierarch, high priest, imperative, institution, jus, law, law of nature, lectionary, legislation, lex, litany, machzor, manual, maxim, measure, metropolitan, miscellanea, miscellany, missal, mitzvah, model, moral, norm, norma, omnibus, order of nature, ordinal, ordinance, ordonnance, papa, parameter, patriarch, pattern, penitentiary, photograph album, pontiff, pontifical, pope, prayer book, prebendary, precept, prelate, prescribed form, prescript, prescription, primate, principium, principle, quantity, quotation book, reading, readout, rector, regulation, ritual, rituale, rondeau, rondelet, rondino, rondo, rondoletto, round, roundelay, rubric, rule, ruling, rural dean, scale, scrapbook, service book, set form, settled principle, siddur, standard, standing order, statute, subdean, suffragan, symposium, teaching, tenet, test, the Book, the Good Book, the Scriptures, the Word, touchstone, troll, type, universal law, value, vicar, working principle, working rule, yardstickAgnus Dei, Alleluia, Anamnesis, Blessing, Collect, Communion, Consecration, Credo, Dismissal, Epistle, Fraction, Gloria, Gospel, Gradual, Introit, Kyrie, Kyrie Eleison, Last Gospel, Lavabo, Offertory, Paternoster, Pax, Post-Communion, Preface, Sanctus, Secreta, Tersanctus, Tract
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