Definition of canonical in English:



  • 1According to or ordered by canon law.

    ‘the canonical rites of the Roman Church’
    • ‘No canonical or civil penalties, much less automatic excommunication, are attached to its violation.’
    • ‘The dying are freed by death from all penalties; they are already dead to canonical rules, and have a right to be released from them.’
    • ‘This argument assumes that some crimes and punishments in that system are comparable to the canonical crime of clerical sexual wrongdoing with a minor and the ecclesiastical penalties available for it.’
    • ‘When we look honestly at the facts, we see that there is no liturgical, theological, pastoral, or canonical reason that would keep the bishops from granting permission for the use of general absolution.’
    • ‘Wisely, she wanted no part of the whirlwind ‘whacking’ of clergy alone, which has ruined the lives and reputations of accused priests long before their canonical and civil right to trial.’
    • ‘Eadgar's coronation in 973 was postponed until he reached 30, the minimum canonical age for ordination to the priesthood.’
    • ‘The re-establishment of the Bulgarian Patriarchy was opposed by the Ecumenical Patriarchy as it did not happen according to the canonical order.’
    • ‘As long the main focus of energy has remained on liturgical change, canonical reform and political transformation, the education, formation, and spiritual growth of the people have suffered from neglect.’
    • ‘The marriage was valid under canonical and ecclesiastical laws.’
    • ‘The Garland article is in this instance much more detailed and, on examination of the ancient canons, quite correct in noting that Bede was not ordained deacon at the canonical age.’
    • ‘Although state Catholic conferences do not have the same canonical status as the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, they are its functional equivalents at the state level.’
    • ‘Hardly heard from before the bishops' June meeting in Dallas, the National Federation of Priests' Councils rushed to uphold priests' canonical rights.’
    • ‘The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life.’
    • ‘If the case is serious the bishop can hand it over the a tribunal of judges who will hear the case according to canonical procedures.’
    • ‘The revisions acknowledge the canonical process for removing a priest from ministry.’
    • ‘Some of its members have vocally criticized the church's opposition to abortion and the canonical regulation on priestly celibacy, although the organization takes no official position on either issue.’
    • ‘Moreover, citing a breach of their canonical right to due process, some priests are appealing to Rome.’
    • ‘But there's a whole network of tailors, painters, nuns, guards, gardeners, canonical lawyers, and others who sustain the life of this fascinating, mysterious place.’
    • ‘The first consequence is a fundamental change in the present legal status, canonical and secular, of the university.’
    • ‘Their complaints have gone through the proper canonical channels in the Church itself.’
  • 2Included in the list of sacred books officially accepted as genuine.

    ‘the canonical Gospels of the New Testament’
    • ‘Our contributors remind us that the compilers and editors of the Bible set our biblical traditions and texts in conscious interrelationship with each other within a canonical context.’
    • ‘In addition, while colleges and universities teach critical thinking, truly religious readers strive to remain obedient to canonical sources, not to be critical of them.’
    • ‘In connection with his discussion of canonical criticism, Bart maintains that a separate theology of the First Testament should be done without drawing the Second Testament into the mix.’
    • ‘Scholars have been engaging these texts for decades, and most of them have concluded, as I have, that they really do represent a construal of Christianity distinct and often opposed to that found in the canonical texts.’
    • ‘The tendency is not limited to the Hebrew Bible; it is expanded in the New Testament, where there are four canonical gospels, although one would provide a more definitive claim about Jesus.’
    • ‘Her new approach will mandate a significant rewriting of how slaves and slaveholders were addressed in canonical and extra-canonical sources of the early Christian communities.’
    • ‘Though many of the appearances of Jesus in synagogues in the canonical Gospels are likely fictional, issues of social order and especially discontent come into view.’
    • ‘To my knowledge, he's right; at any rate, its inclusion here honors that book's canonical status in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.’
    • ‘Absolutism represents the classic traditions of Judaism and Christianity that argued God dictated every word and religious symbol/message in the canonical sources.’
    • ‘A notable strength of the opening chapter is the author's summary of ecclesiastical uses (including canonical status) of the Apocrypha.’
    • ‘Was Augustine's reading of the text in keeping with the intention of those second-century Christians who first began to read the Epistle to the Romans as a canonical text?’
    • ‘The lessons that the Bible teaches are similar to the lessons of history, set in the particular frame of reference that we call canonical.’
    • ‘At the very end of the story of Job, in its canonical version, the Lord restores Job's fortune - indeed, his material and familial blessings become even greater than they were before his trials.’
    • ‘If there are some signs of groupings of sayings according to catchwords or themes, then Thomas would had had a motive for abandoning the order of sayings in the canonical gospels.’
    • ‘No doctrine of inspiration needs undergird the text's authority; a doctrine of providence explains its composition, its canonical status accorded by the church, and its contemporary readings.’
    • ‘Films of this sort pay the price of making Jesus appear smaller and less compelling than the figure we can encounter in reading or, as the case may be, in questioning the canonical texts.’
    • ‘They accepted the same Biblical books as canonical; their public worship centred on the Eucharist, and authority in all of them was vested in bishops.’
    • ‘For example, in the Gospel of the Ebionites we find that John the Baptist didn't eat honey and locusts, as the canonical Gospels record, but only honey.’
    • ‘Is it really conceivable that there was some early Christian source that embraced within itself all these different strands of what became the canonical Gospels?’
    • ‘In all of this, the Gospel of Matthew, more than the other canonical gospels, lives and breathes the shared historical memories of the Israelites and Jesus Movement people.’
    1. 2.1 Accepted as being accurate and authoritative.
      ‘the canonical method of comparative linguistics’
      • ‘In our present work, we use the Replica Exchange Monte Carlo method to obtain the canonical distribution of both monomer and dimer forms separately.’
      • ‘To foster learning, they contend, organizations must see beyond conventional, canonical job descriptions and recognize how learning occurs in the rich context of practice.’
      • ‘First, if you ever want to clean your MBR from whatever is installed there, the canonical method is to use the fdisk program from an MS-DOS boot floppy.’
      • ‘The feature was so useful that it became a canonical component of the standard weblog entry.’
      • ‘Seven hundred years later, two things remain constant: first, the primacy of Francis' life, and second, the futility of trying to produce a canonical version of that life.’
      • ‘Much of the controversy that Life is Beautiful attracted centres on its lack of authenticity in its departure from the accepted or canonical representation of the Holocaust, which is based on historical truth, realism and tragedy.’
      • ‘According to the canonical recipe, a stew (zirwak, from the medieval Persian zirbag: ‘that which is cooked underneath’) is cooked in the cauldron-like pot qazan.’
      • ‘Freedom in its fullest sense, then, is only possible in a canonical form of social order, in which all take part in shaping the conditions of common life.’
      • ‘How about Alfred Wegener and continental drift, probably the canonical story of establishment myopia?’
      recognized, authoritative, authorized, accepted, sanctioned, approved, received, established, orthodox
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    2. 2.2 (of a writer or work) belonging to the literary canon.
      ‘canonical writers like Jane Austen’
      • ‘His is not a book about poetry, and yet a canonical poet is consulted for the distinction that structures the book.’
      • ‘These works have cast a long shadow, and their influence has helped to broaden approaches to a range of canonical writers.’
      • ‘The war in Testament of Youth, then, is clearly a different kind of war from that which appears in texts by canonical male writers examined by critics like Fussell.’
      • ‘The writings of Ern Malley, in spite of the intentions of the authors, have reached canonical literary status with their inclusion in their entirety in the Penguin Book of Modern Australian Poetry.’
      • ‘It has some bearing on the meaning of one of the great historical novels that remains canonical in the most obdurate of ways, Alessandro Manzoni's I Promessi Sposi.’
      • ‘Breadth of reading also played a central role in science, because to establish their authority as writers many scientists needed to show a familiarity with the canonical texts of the Western literary tradition.’
      • ‘The last chapter offers an analysis of a single canonical work of art of the thirteenth century BCE, the altar of Tukulti Ninurta I found at Assur.’
      • ‘In this groundbreaking study of canonical white writers, Morrison persuasively argues that a powerful black presence inhabits much of what we currently consider American literature.’
      • ‘Although these are canonical works, Eco's approach to them is that of a revisionist literary historian.’
      • ‘Once banned, often excoriated, still dauntingly difficult, Ulysses has become the canonical twentieth-century novel.’
      • ‘He did sometimes express amazement that some of the great canonical books (The Faerie Queene comes to mind) were taken seriously; this was part of his conversational charm.’
      • ‘Each panelist offered 10 canonical or recommended books for students, which I've posted on this page, along with my own list.’
      • ‘My exegetical method combines elements of postmodernist literary criticism and canonical criticism.’
      • ‘She pursues her task ambitiously, tirelessly, and scrupulously through the major texts of three canonical writers of early modern English literature.’
      • ‘Arthur Miller's drama has so long been accorded canonical status that it can easily be taken for granted.’
      • ‘Virginia Woolf has become a canonical author, but Firbank, Compton-Burnett, and Pater remain relatively marginal figures.’
      • ‘And while perhaps China's most canonical poet, Li Bai, made this the recurring motif of his poetry, he didn't spend a lot of his adult life at home.’
      • ‘The reverence accorded canonical figures, the faith that art was immortal, the fascination with an individual artist's character - he ridiculed them all.’
      • ‘In the Indian literary pantheon, Ghosh and Naipaul have become canonical.’
      • ‘Traditionally historians and critics of Caribbean art have been preoccupied with identifying and categorizing Caribbean artists according to received canonical ideas of art and art history.’
    3. 2.3 According to recognized rules or scientific laws.
      ‘canonical nucleotide sequences’
      • ‘For most elements with poly tails in the genomic sequence, the canonical AATAAA polyadenylation signal can be found upstream.’
      • ‘Polymorphic residues are shaded, and their side chains in the canonical sequence are also shown.’
      • ‘Both sides of the T-DNA insert were intact, with canonical left-border sequences facing outward (data not shown).’
      • ‘Translation of the DNA is performed initially according to the canonical code, but when the code changes different organisms in the population may be translated by different codes.’
      • ‘We used the RT of the element present in sequence AC006067 as the canonical copy for the analyses presented in figure 3.’
      • ‘The simulation method is the canonical MC method.’
      • ‘Ironically, the need for remarkable flexibility may actually help to explain strong conservation of the canonical CTD sequence.’
      • ‘Indeed, it is possible to recognize as canonical sentences those that conform in their structure to the normal clause patterns, such as subject-verb-direct object.’
      • ‘Another possibility is cross-binding of Swi4 and Mpb1 to canonical sequences for the other factor.’
      • ‘An alternative explanation for the low level of divergence among canonical P sequences in the two species groups is that these elements shared a common ancestor more recently than did their host species.’
      • ‘The best results were obtained by the local alignment method LALIGN, as the analyzed sequences contained numerous gaps, insertions, and duplications relative to the canonical hobo sequence.’
      • ‘This region of RPB1 in animals, plants, and fungi, as well as a number of protists is composed of heptad repeats with a canonical sequence of YSPTSPS.’
      • ‘High-priority inserts were then sequenced from both ends; virtually all of them had a Cbs element with the canonical chromosome breakage sequence.’
      • ‘These mutations generated variant repeats that differed at one or several positions from the canonical sequences defined earlier for each repeat of the A 2 allele.’
      • ‘It is likely that these two proteins represent only the first of many, however, since a proteomics study recently identified other nucleus-encoded chloroplast proteins that appear to lack canonical TP sequences.’
      • ‘To date, the canonical model for biological sequence evolution with indels has been the TKF91 model.’
      • ‘These oligomers are not expected to form dimeric duplexes and contain no canonical GpC sequences.’
      • ‘Note that the D. tripunctata group is found in a phylogenetic branch that is rather distant from the other groups with canonical P sequences.’
      • ‘In addition, within a given tract, variations on the canonical repeat sequence can occur.’
      • ‘Several canonical and noncanonical nucleotide sequences, called E-boxes, lie within this region and show a wide range of DNA-binding affinities for the Sc-Da complexes.’
    4. 2.4Mathematics Relating to a general rule or standard formula.
      • ‘We used a complex-sounding but conceptually simple statistical method known as canonical discriminant analysis to test whether zircon chemistry could be used to reliably determine the host deposit type.’
      • ‘For the most part these chapters do computations with specific examples, establishing canonical forms and other structure theorems for certain classes of groups.’
      • ‘This standardization makes the canonical coefficients comparable to each other, but does not influence other aspects of the analysis.’
      • ‘The standardized canonical discriminant function coefficients show the relative association between the discriminating variables and the discriminant functions.’
      • ‘Todd generalised the arithmetic genus and the invariants of the canonical system on an algebraic variety to a system of invariants of every codimension.’
  • 3Relating to a cathedral chapter or a member of it.

    ‘his college tutors were later his canonical colleagues’
    • ‘After an acrimonious debate, in 1981 The Catholic University revised its special bylaws and again required that professors have a canonical mission in order to teach theology.’
    • ‘Meanwhile on the churchly front, he served as canonical counselor and defender of the first Episcopal women priests irregularly ordained.’

plural noun

  • The prescribed official dress of the clergy.

    ‘Cardinal Bea in full canonicals’
    • ‘Except in his canonicals, he does not have much of a physical presence or command a room when he enters it; and he is prolix.’
    • ‘Immediately opposite was a grotesque figure of Satan, no doubt in canonicals also, with cloven foot and horns, belching out fire and brimstone on the terrified audience.’
    • ‘‘Canonicals,’ said Sheffield, as if thinking about them; ‘no, canonicals are no sham; for preaching, I suppose, is the highest ordinance in our Church, and has the richest dress.’’
    • ‘We send ecclesiastical attire and sacred canonicals in every part of the world; visit our virtual show room now to choose the best for you.’
    • ‘There had been exquisite work in the carving of his canonicals.’
    vestment, surplice, cassock, rochet, alb, dalmatic, chasuble
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