Main definitions of canon in English

: canon1canon2

canon1

noun

  • 1A general law, rule, principle, or criterion by which something is judged.

    ‘the appointment violated the canons of fair play and equal opportunity’
    • ‘Rodinson wrote to unveil the secrets of a world dimly understood by Europeans, Derrida to expose the hidden contradictions and incoherencies of what seemed most transparent about the canons of Western thought.’
    • ‘All they have is administrative fiat which fails any of the canons of the rule of law.’
    • ‘One example would be his last testament in court, in which he repeatedly accuses Gandhi of flouting the canons of secular statecraft.’
    • ‘At the same time, the canons of social scientific research, in particular a nervousness about appearing to make value judgements, have a significant influence on the form of argumentation.’
    • ‘Latourette's narrative sought to follow the canons of good history - retelling the story on the basis of good evidence.’
    • ‘The canons of journalistic ethics compel me to make this information available to you, the reader.’
    • ‘Pacheco's pictures no longer follow the canons of Mannerism, but neither do they embrace the naturalism that dominated Spanish painting in the first third of the 17th century.’
    • ‘Traditional religious beliefs that are paranormal, that is, that violate the canons of scientific causality, exhibit a negative correlation with education and scientific knowledge.’
    • ‘These images have a grainy and rough appearance that pulls them even further away from the canons of early modernist photography as defined by Ansel Adams and Edward Weston.’
    • ‘The relationship with outsider art persists, however, because of the obsessiveness of his work and its disregard for the canons of Western figuration.’
    • ‘Sometimes, to be sure, one bias or another leads to a violation of the canons of scientific method.’
    • ‘This is perfectly valid and appropriate advice from the vantage point of the canons of structured interviewing with its quest for standardization and for valid and reliable data.’
    • ‘Collectors of modern art flaunted the canons of conventional taste, incurring ridicule and criticism and, although some of them were known to one another, many collected in isolation.’
    • ‘By the canons of classical taste, they were gaudy.’
    • ‘These were the canons of Socialist Realism enforced in Stalinist Eastern Europe, as late as my visit in 1967 to Weimar, one of the most decorative of cities.’
    • ‘The pressure to conform to the canons of popular taste - or rather lack of taste - has never been stronger.’
    • ‘Studies of geographical correlation have low status within the canons of evidence based medicine.’
    • ‘All this is described without inspiration and in a purely conventional manner, so it must be interpreted by the canons of the apocalyptic style.’
    • ‘What this is about is affording privileged protection under law to categories of people favoured by the canons of political correctness.’
    • ‘Yet the treatment of the subject is perfectly in keeping with the canons of Neoclassicism, with its theatrical grouping of figures, idealised faces, its emphasis on drawing rather than colour and with its smooth and glossy paint surface.’
    principle, rule, law, tenet, precept, formula
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A Church decree or law.
      ‘a set of ecclesiastical canons’
      [mass noun] ‘legislation which enables the Church of England General Synod to provide by canon for women to be ordained’
      • ‘Here, as elsewhere, Coriden notes the tension between the roots of the canons in Roman law and a more recent desire to highlight their connection to the imperatives of the gospel life.’
      • ‘They, not the canons and decrees of the Council of Trent, or even the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola, were the true legacy of early modern Catholicism for the modern age.’
      • ‘The turning point probably came when the General Convention revised the canon on divorce and remarriage.’
      • ‘Charlemagne encouraged the general adoption of the liturgical books used in Rome, as well as the so-called Dionisyo-Hadriana, the main Roman collection of conciliary canons and papal decrees.’
      • ‘Ironically, the monks, who are excluded from politics by both legal laws and religious canons, are probably among the most crucial actors in local elections.’
  • 2A collection or list of sacred books accepted as genuine.

    ‘the biblical canon’
    • ‘The only other surviving writings that are exclusively apocalyptic in style come from outside our biblical canon and are usually unfamiliar to anyone but scholars in the field.’
    • ‘Fragments of every book of the Hebrew canon have been discovered except for the book of Esther.’
    • ‘To create a canon of sacred writings is to create a collection which will be in some sense normative for the community for which it is intended.’
    • ‘And also Catholic Christians and Orthodox Christians do not have the exact same number of books in that Testament as do Jews in their canon, and Protestants as well.’
    • ‘The result of the Septuagint's formation was that it presented Christians with the possibility of retaining the Tanakh in their own canon.’
    • ‘Both Jews and Christians read the biblical writings in a canon.’
    • ‘Reading Scripture diachronically and synchronically, all views provided by the canon would be considered as in a kind of dialogue.’
    • ‘There is a significant contrast here with the slow and unsteady emergence of both Biblical canons.’
    • ‘Ruth is one of only two books in the Hebrew canon that bears the name of a woman.’
    • ‘We do not, therefore, believe that the Church can now be an organ of revelation, since the canon of Scripture has been completed.’
    • ‘For one thing, he says, the canons of the two groups are different, and therefore, the ways Christians and Jews read their scripture will be divergent.’
    • ‘Many Baptists believe that within the biblical canon, the twenty-seven books of the New Testament are preeminent.’
    • ‘The emergence of Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Esther and Judith, and Tobit during this period allows him to present the differences between components in the eventual Jewish canon and various Christian canons.’
    • ‘The biblical narratives of the Old Testament together with other texts that never made it into the canon provide useful background.’
    • ‘It is more than just another book on this puzzling book of the biblical canon.’
    • ‘General readers wishing for fresh insight into the hermeneutical significance of the biblical canon are advised to look elsewhere.’
    • ‘The Jewish canon thus lists as prophetical many biblical books we regard as merely historical or political: from Judges to Samuel to Kings.’
    • ‘When you read passages attributed to Satan in the Gospels for example, and you read passages attributed to Mara in the Buddhist canon, you suddenly hear this same voice.’
    • ‘Each exegetical section lists the three scripture readings of the Protestant canon for the day as well as the psalm; no exegesis is provided for the psalm.’
    • ‘In 771 he presented a petition to the throne asking that 77 scriptures in 101 scrolls that he had translated be added to the canon of scriptures.’
    1. 2.1The works of a particular author or artist that are recognized as genuine.
      ‘the Shakespeare canon’
      • ‘No mention is made of the revision, which allowed the story to join the Simple canon, including publication in The Best of Simple.’
      • ‘He is funny, dignified and minutely knowledgeable about the whole Christie canon, having dramatised all the Poirots and all the Radio 4 Miss Marples with June Whitfield.’
      • ‘That may sound like a lot, but when you consider that there are nearly a million words in the whole of the Shakespeare canon, it's not as many as it seems.’
      • ‘African American culture, heritage, and the need to pay homage to it also provide direction for Thomas's fictional canon, which to date includes six novels.’
      • ‘Can't say I'm sufficiently familiar with Ms Francis's literary canon to comment.’
      • ‘These notes display the wide range of the Thurman canon against the backdrop of the Harlem Renaissance.’
      • ‘What he does not know about the Shakespeare canon and Shakespeare criticism is perhaps not worth knowing.’
      • ‘Given the sheer size of V.S. Naipaul's canon and its general public appeal, it is surprising it took this long to adapt one of his novels to film.’
      • ‘Over these same three decades he built up his own canon of literary work that has qualified him as one of the most important writers of our era.’
      • ‘The same thing simply can't be said about any other two consecutively released studio albums in U2's canon.’
      • ‘It might be that the easiest way to explain why a movie doesn't work is to compare it to one that does, which is why I bring up the cinematic canon of Christopher Guest and his repertory company.’
      • ‘This one is as neat a demonstration of the Arthurian cycle as any book in the Clarke canon, and as stimulating.’
      • ‘Almost universally excluded from the canon of Woolf's major works, Flush has not been critically evaluated as what it declares itself to be: the biography of a dog.’
      • ‘The canon of his prose writings long included De Doctrina Christiana, an unorthodox theological treatise first printed in 1825.’
      • ‘I have that album as a constant reminder that one can regard an artist's entire canon with disinterest, but love one work with intense fascination.’
      • ‘As well as illuminating the subtle stylistic differences of these writers, Bergeron perceptively locates correspondences between the civic pageantry and other areas of the authors' canons, particularly the drama.’
      • ‘He is not the only actor to impersonate a butler in the Wodehouse canon.’
      • ‘Further, an author's canon provides an unstable foundation for constructing his or her personal beliefs, as scholarship on Map's works demonstrates.’
      • ‘No, not every Morrissey album has been great, but ‘You Are The Quarry’ fits right in to his extremely consistent canon.’
      • ‘I was rather surprised at the choosing of this opera for a new production, I am sure that there are other operas in the Janácek canon which are more in need of replenishment.’
    2. 2.2The list of works considered to be permanently established as being of the highest quality.
      ‘Hopkins was firmly established in the canon of English poetry’
      • ‘Do you think many of them are being absorbed into the Western canon, or is the canon being changed to accommodate them?’
      • ‘A loose analogy with T. S. Eliot's notion of how a new classic affects the canon of a literature might be drawn here.’
      • ‘Moi complained, ‘Showalter's aim, in effect, is to create a separate canon of women's writing, not to abolish all canons.’’
      • ‘It is possible that Walker, trained in the traditional canon at Sarah Lawrence, may be directly alluding to Shelley's line.’
      • ‘Most of us accept the canon of ‘all-time classics’ by reputation only.’
      • ‘That experience for you is going to help you know what it feels like for the average teen reader, or the struggling reader, who reads below grade level, to try to plow through the books in the canon.’
      • ‘Surely, even though it is necessary to question and dismantle canons, it is not an overstatement to claim that classical literature is the cornerstone of Western literature and society.’
      • ‘And ultimately, perhaps we may need to be even more careful about ever implying that it is on the basis of an association with the maternal realm that women writers belong in modernist or feminist literary canons.’
      • ‘He also said that Bermuda's education of its young is incomplete without the inclusion of established canons of African literature and other texts in the school curriculum.’
      • ‘He is in many ways a unique writer who confounds any simple pigeon-holing or attempts to locate writers in respect to an assumed canon of literature.’
      • ‘Some professors are also dedicated to the ‘canon’ and cannot figure out how to get that canon taught if not by lecture - the way they learned.’
      • ‘So far, the growth of cultural studies has accompanied (though not caused) an expansion of the literary canon.’
      • ‘The English department of Skidmore is pretty hospitable to the idea that those big, fat, male books are not the only important books in the canon.’
      • ‘Cultural competence is defined as ‘control of an established canon of literature’.’
      • ‘David Lane and Paul Ginsborg provide us with the two latest contributions to the expanding canon, and, although much of their source material is the same, the results are very different.’
      • ‘I simply do not believe in the validity of the concept of a canon, and for that reason I consider the important writers of the past not as models, but as challenges.’
      • ‘We now move to issue of reasons for inclusion and/or exclusion from the canon.’
      • ‘Indeed, a Caribbean female presence has established itself in the literary canons of both Canada and the United States.’
      • ‘His legacy to the literary canon is his portrayal of the people, language and customs of the English countryside in his novels.’
      • ‘These phrases serve as bona-fides that the writer's no hack; he or she demonstrates a command of the canon, which lends authority to what's being argued.’
  • 3(in the Roman Catholic Church) the part of the Mass containing the words of consecration.

    • ‘Do you accept the presider's invitation to join him in the sanctuary for the canon of the Mass?’
    • ‘A homily would have been preached between the reading of the gospel and the central canon of the Mass but the question of how often and of what quality is still being discussed.’
  • 4Music
    A piece in which the same melody is begun in different parts successively, so that the imitations overlap.

    ‘the very simple rhythmic structure of this double canon’
    [mass noun] ‘two quartets sing in close canon throughout’
    • ‘A canon for two voices using one line of melody is called a canon two in one, three voices with one melody a canon three in one, and so on.’
    • ‘The Praeludium for Paul Hindemith uses a canon composed by Hindemith on the occasion of his sixty-fifth birthday in December 1960.’
    • ‘‘River’ creates a big piece from a small idea, propelling a simple melody into rounds and canons that imitate the flowing, winding object of the song's title.’
    • ‘He takes a little minuet on a journey ‘through contrapuntal couplets, canons and inversions beore breaking into romantic rhapsodising’.’
    • ‘His choral works, canons, and cantatas, some based on poems by Hildegard Jone, contain joyous words that initially clash with the fragmented tone cells, then merge with them.’

Phrases

  • in canon

    • With different parts successively beginning the same melody.

      • ‘In the RCM parts, the verse section occupying bars 60-88 of the anthem is allocated thoughout, more or less strictly in canon at the octave, to soloists singing from the medius cantoris and tenor decani partbooks.’
      • ‘Also the tintinnabulation parts appear in canon and at different speeds.’
      • ‘The work opens with a theme that is treated in canon by violin, glockenspiel, and piano in the high register, which was the original combination envisioned by Wustin (he added viola and cello later).’
      • ‘And then, just to make the point absolutely clear, above the voice entries you hear first the trumpet and then the oboe, with an appropriate chorale melody and then again, those two are in canon.’
      • ‘The live dancers perform alongside their own images on film, in unison or in canon or counterpoint.’

Origin

Old English: from Latin, from Greek kanōn rule, reinforced in Middle English by Old French canon.

Pronunciation:

canon

/ˈkanən/

Main definitions of canon in English

: canon1canon2

canon2

noun

  • 1A member of the clergy who is on the staff of a cathedral, especially one who is a member of the chapter.

    ‘he was appointed canon of Christ Church, Oxford’
    [as title] ‘a portrait of Canon Jarrat and his wife hangs in the church today’
    • ‘Cathedrals which were not monastic foundations, and collegiate churches, were served by secular clergy, the canons or prebendaries, who constituted the capitular body or chapter.’
    • ‘For example, in the Chapter of Gloucester - the group of canons who run the Cathedral - appointments are made alternately by the Dean and by the Church Commissioners.’
    • ‘Toward the end of mass in the St. Mark Chapel, the bishop or, if he was out of town, one of the cathedral canons, delivered a sermon.’
    • ‘While the presiding bishop acts as the church's executive director, the church canons do not give him final spiritual authority over his fellow bishops.’
    • ‘The power to sack vicars would be given to bishops under a proposed ‘common tenure’ arrangement for all clergy, including curates, cathedral canons and the bishops themselves.’
    • ‘Later a canon at Westminster, he became a publicist for the North-West Passage idea and other projects, and adviser to the new East India Company in 1600.’
    • ‘After 15 years, he returned as parish priest to Beverley, during which time he was made a canon of the cathedral chapter in 1982.’
    • ‘The plans are being led by the church's vicar, Canon Derek Jackson, a former canon pastor of Bradford Cathedral.’
    • ‘Only 46 were bishops; so that the nobles, canons, and regulars who had hitherto controlled all the levers of power in the Church were exposed as lacking the confidence of their subordinates.’
    • ‘Degree in hand, he returned home to Warmia, to serve as canon of the Cathedral Chapter of Frombork.’
    • ‘Opposing the motion is Mr Tony Eastaugh, who describes himself as a horticultural asylum seeker; he will be seconded by the Canon Jim Seaton, a retired canon of the Church of England.’
    • ‘The archbishop of Malines, Cardinal Josef Van Roey, made Lemaitre a canon of the cathedral in 1935.’
    • ‘In this way, for example, the canons of Salisbury quickly acquired their copies of Cicero and Plautus.’
    • ‘Alan Jones is Dean of Grace Episcopal Cathedral in San Francisco and an honorary canon of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Chartres.’
    • ‘And why do we need three residentiary canons at the cathedral?’
    • ‘The cathedral has been run by Canon Michael Glanville-Smith, the senior residentiary canon.’
    • ‘His descendants have been horrified to learn that the listed building has been sold by the Dean and canons of Manchester Cathedral for £250,000.’
    • ‘Oliver O'Donovan is Regius Professor of Practical and Moral Theology at Oxford and a canon of Christ Church.’
    • ‘She is being made an honorary canon in recognition of her hospital work and will take over as rural dean of South Craven in February.’
    • ‘She became one of the first women ordained to the priesthood in 1994, moving to Salisbury the following year as canon treasurer, one of the cathedral's three residentiary canons.’
    1. 1.1(in the Roman Catholic Church) a member of certain orders of clergy that live communally according to an ecclesiastical rule in the same way as monks.
      • ‘As virgin patroness of the canons at Chich, Osith here joins a pantheon of elite women, both in terms of her companion texts and the manuscript's users.’
      • ‘The movement spread across Europe by means of lay associations devoted to education and to prayer, known as Brethren of the Common Life, and a religious order known as the Windesheim canons.’
      • ‘Many monks and canons, despite their ejection from the cloister, took the oath in order to qualify themselves for the cure of souls and a salary far better than the meagre pension allotted to ex-regulars.’
      • ‘These circumstances explain the important role of the new religious orders in these areas - the Augustinian canons regular and each of the four main orders of friars in Ireland, for example, and the Cistercians in Wales.’
      • ‘He, therefore, has decided to found on his own authority a college of canons there to protect the site.’
      • ‘A monastery (from the Greek ‘to live alone’) is a more or less self-contained settlement constructed to house a community of monks or canons.’
      • ‘The area gets its name because six acres of land here were given to the canons of St Bartholemew's Priory, Smithfield, in 1331.’
      • ‘By 1216 there were approximately 700 houses and some 13,000 monks, nuns, canons, and canonesses.’
      • ‘The problem with the Windsor Report's reference to the canons of Nicaea, some conservatives have responded, is that it focuses on the wrong heretics.’
      • ‘When he returned to his native land, Copernicus was again granted leave from his official duties as a canon in the Ermland Chapter at Frauenburg.’
      • ‘This was an order of some thirty houses, of which the majority were for canons only.’
      • ‘The canons of Saint-Nizier, though, had the opportunity to portray Aunemund in a very different light.’
      • ‘The canon's Requiem Mass was held in Waterford, Ireland, where he was born and spent his last years.’
      • ‘The most powerful secular landlords in England founded new communities for canons and built outsized churches for them.’
      • ‘He became a canon of the Order of St Augustine at the monastery of Holywood in Nithsdale.’
      • ‘The anonymous author of the Libellus classified monks and canons into three groups based on whether they lived far from men, like the Cistercians, or close to men, like the Victorines, or as hermits.’
      • ‘They noted that Archbishop Louis de Villars had founded a college of canons at SaintNizier as a new enterprise on his own authority.’
      • ‘In 1457, after years of broken promises to return the cloth to the canons of Lirey and later to compensate them for its loss, Margaret was excommunicated.’
      • ‘Higden apart, these were all secular clerks rather than monks or canons regular.’
      • ‘At first glance it would seem that religious women were put at a severe disadvantage by this increasing emphasis on votive Masses, a demand that could only be fulfilled by ordained monks and canons.’

Origin

Middle English (in the sense ‘canon regular’): from Old French canonie, from Latin canonicus according to rule (see canonic). The other sense dates from the mid 16th century.

Pronunciation:

canon

/ˈkanən/

Main definitions of canon in English

: canon1canon2

cañon

noun

Pronunciation:

cañon

/ˈkanən/