Definition of cannon in English:



  • 1A large, heavy piece of artillery, typically mounted on wheels, formerly used in warfare.

    ‘they would cross at the Town ford, under cover of the defending cannon’
    • ‘There was a sudden shaking and rumble of cannons and battering-rams and I saw flames flickering.’
    • ‘In her article on the last days of Byzantium, Judith Herrin emphasises just how noisy they were, with drums and trumpets and church bells sounding over the roar of cannon and the clash of steel.’
    • ‘But in the visual chaos, one can discern leaning buildings, a crowd of people, and in the lower right, a wheeled, blasting cannon.’
    • ‘It's claimed that when the park was turned into a parade ground, practicing troops often found their cannons ' wheels caught in the ruts of graves that had collapsed in on themselves under the weight above them.’
    • ‘Rebel riflemen flung themselves on smoking union cannons firing pointblank, bayonets stabbing, taking vengeance on the cannoneers.’
    • ‘But the salute, which started slightly late and with one cannon out of action after a round misfired, left him slightly disappointed.’
    • ‘The sound of cannons firing and bayonets clashing together is what I think of when I think of war.’
    • ‘Everyone in Charleston could hear the cannons firing.’
    • ‘Spitbank Fort boasts commanding views over the Solent, which its battery of 15 giant cannons used to protect, and can also rake in around £300,000 a year in revenue.’
    • ‘If a cannon is fired from atop a high hill, the cannonball will fall to Earth, landing some distance away.’
    • ‘Troops in red coats and blue coats shot off cannons and artillery in his fields as all the people living there sat on the deck, cheering for one side or the other.’
    • ‘So powerful was the result that Chepstow continued in use until 1690, being finally adapted for cannon and musketry after an epic Civil War siege.’
    • ‘Archaeologists yesterday put on show a 17th century cannon recovered from a wreck dubbed Scotland's Mary Rose.’
    • ‘However, the Irish needed the castle's large cannon for use in reducing other strongholds in the region, and were anxious to do so with the minimum delay.’
    • ‘The massive launching blast of the howitzer cannon deafened all that were near.’
    • ‘Tommy Lynch of Leighlin wrote the ballad, and the old artillery piece was the cannon on the steps of the Courthouse in Carlow.’
    • ‘The military arms enthusiast was given the specialist task of replacing two historic cannon which once stood on the steps of Ashton Town Hall.’
    • ‘Sticks and stones gave way to swords, spears, cannons, guns and nuclear weapons.’
    • ‘The cannons still battered the fort because they could feel the stone beneath them rumble in response to each hit, and then the loud explosion that came after.’
    mounted gun, field gun, gun, piece of artillery, piece of ordnance
    mortar, howitzer
    big gun
    carronade, bombard, culverin, falconet, long tom, serpentine
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A heavy automatic gun that fires shells from an aircraft or tank.
      ‘the gunships blasted arms depots with 105 mm cannon fire and rockets’
      • ‘Once they were in close, they could deliver devastating fire from their cannon and rocket armament; only a few hits could bring down a heavy bomber.’
      • ‘An issue requiring further debate relates to whether the Army should continue to place importance on heavy tanks and cannons.’
      • ‘For the next thirty minutes, the two tanks traveled in opposite directions, completely destroying the convoy with their one twenty millimeter cannons and 50 caliber machine guns.’
      • ‘A single-seater aircraft, it looked rather tiny, but the 37 mm cannon in its nose, its barrel protruding through the propeller boss, was not.’
      • ‘The cannon crews defended their guns with everything they had, turning from guns to knives and even their bare knuckles.’
      • ‘With new money came new and more lethal weapons: Antonov bombers, helicopter gunships, artillery cannons.’
      • ‘Major weapons systems, such as aircraft carriers, fighter jets, artillery cannons and submarines are likely to be much less useful in unconventional wars.’
      • ‘This enormous flying boat, also known as the Flying Porcupine, was heavily armed with defensive weapons, including five 20 mm cannons and four machine-guns.’
      • ‘In some missions, you'll be required to hop on an antiaircraft gun and shoot down enemy fighter planes, while in others you'll be manning chain guns and cannons on moving boats and trucks.’
      • ‘In 1968 Gen. Franks returned to Fort Sill, where he commanded a cannon battery in the Artillery Training Center.’
      • ‘Pro-Taylor militia fighters raced through the city in jeeps at dawn yesterday with mounted cannons and rocket-propelled grenade launchers.’
      • ‘The number of smooth-bore cannons used as artillery increased steadily.’
      • ‘The talk is all of what happened on Swift Boats thirty-five years ago, not of the cannons being fired from US AC - 130 gunships this week.’
      • ‘The fighters fired their cannons but did not hit the American aircraft.’
      mounted gun, field gun, gun, piece of artillery, piece of ordnance
      mortar, howitzer
      big gun
      carronade, bombard, culverin, falconet, long tom, serpentine
      View synonyms
  • 2British Billiards
    A stroke in which the cue ball strikes two balls successively.

    • ‘The Irishman had squandered several leads during a see-saw match, but he found his groove at the end, benefiting from a lucky cannon to get among the balls.’
    • ‘A player makes a cannon by hitting the object balls with the cue ball.’
  • 3Engineering
    A heavy cylinder or hollow drum that is able to rotate independently on a shaft.

    • ‘It looked like a central metal shaft with two spherical boosters on the side, and a main cannon in the front of the central shaft.’
    • ‘As the outer layers cooled, they compressed the inner layers, giving the cannon greater tensile strength.’
    • ‘The barrel of the cannon passed through the reduction gearbox and the propeller hub.’
    • ‘I have news for you folks, a cannon is a machine tool.’


[NO OBJECT]British
  • 1Collide with something forcefully or at an angle.

    ‘the couple behind almost cannoned into us’
    ‘his shot cannoned off the crossbar’
    • ‘Julian Joachim almost equalised when Frank Sinclair's clearance hit the Leeds forward and cannoned off both bar and post.’
    • ‘Four people died in the GNER buffet car when it cannoned into an overhead line stanchion.’
    • ‘Brannan was unfortunate to see his square ball cannon off the referee, allowing Rovers an unexpected break but Fitzpatrick bent his shot just wide.’
    • ‘Minutes later they led 3-when Alan Bailey, who had seen an earlier effort cannon back off the post, stabbed home a right foot shot following a Stuart corner.’
    • ‘Just to ensure it was an injury to remember, Brisbane's Chris Scott and then Mal Michael cannoned into him.’
    • ‘Aethris cannoned into him, and the dagger hummed harmlessly into the air.’
    • ‘Patrick Kluivert, bubbling with confidence after six goals in five starts, saw his shot from the edge of the Birmingham area cannon across the face of goal.’
    • ‘Andrea Pirlo takes it, but the ball cannons off the wall and goes out for a corner, from which Inter clear.’
    • ‘That was until 12 minutes from time, when his attempt at a clearance cannoned off Fabian Caballero's shins and into the Hibernian net.’
    • ‘Scott McNiven had earlier hit the post and John Sheridan saw a 25-yard thunderbolt cannon back off the bar as Ritchie's side dominated the first half.’
    • ‘As she ran on in desperation she cannoned into an old woman who she only saw after it was all too late.’
    • ‘Unsteady figures cannoned into us, apologizing at once with a fine florid courtesy and sweeping exaggerated bows as we moved towards the Grill.’
    • ‘It was as he turned a corner that he cannoned into a khaki dressed soldier who grabbed him before he could run.’
    • ‘Unlucky Lucio failed to get out of the way of Lampard's 20-yard strike and the ball cannoned off goalkeeper Khan's foot and into the net.’
    • ‘Howarth was unlucky to see his attempted clearance cannon back off the winger.’
    • ‘I cannoned into him, knocking him back a few steps.’
    • ‘The ball cannoned off Hayden's midriff and he had the presence of mind to swivel and take a superb reflexive juggling catch.’
    • ‘David Wetherall nodded well wide when he took a cross off the head of the better-placed Windass, who then saw another effort cannon into a wall of black and white shirts.’
    • ‘Misha turned to flee, but she was knocked off course by someone running the other way and she cannoned into an abandoned bus.’
    • ‘A superb pass from Smith sent the young winger on his way and after cutting in from the left Cook was desperately unlucky to see his low drive cannon back off the inside of an Exeter upright.’
    collide with, hit, run into, bang into, crash into, smash into, smack into, crack into, ram into, be in collision with, plough into
    impact with
    barrel into
    View synonyms
  • 2Billiards
    Make a cannon shot.

    • ‘Having potted one, Tony tried to move some balls into the open but one ball cannoned onto another and in seconds it clipped the black sending it down.’
    • ‘Eight white balls are then struck in succession by a player in an effort to get the balls to fall into the holes with the restriction that the ball being played must cannon off another ball before falling into a hole.’


Late Middle English: from French canon, from Italian cannone large tube, from canna cane, reed (see cane).