Definition of canonize in English:


(also canonise)


  • 1(in the Roman Catholic Church) officially declare (a dead person) to be a saint.

    ‘he was the last English saint to be canonized prior to the Reformation’
    • ‘Benedict did try to improve Vatican relations with France after the war by canonizing the French heroine Joan of Arc.’
    • ‘Eventually, because of her contributions, she was canonized as a saint by the church.’
    • ‘Indeed, the formal Catholic procedures for beatifying and canonizing saints are intended, inter alia, to guard against superstition, miraclemongering, and popular enthusiasms of a possibly heretical nature.’
    • ‘The possibility that his words may be heeded was suggested by the church's decision in 2000 to canonize six men who had signed the letters.’
    • ‘He was canonized in 1494 and named a Doctor of the Church in 1720.’
    • ‘On July 30, the pope intends to canonize Juan Diego, the humble Aztec to whom the Virgin Mary supposedly appeared in 1531.’
    • ‘There was an outcry when he was canonised by the current pope in 2002.’
    • ‘In April 2000, Pope John Paul II canonized a Polish nun whose life and witness he called ‘a gift of God for our time.’’
    • ‘In June 2001, he was canonized for his piety and good works as Saint Bernard of Corleone.’
    • ‘In the aftermath of Vatican II, however, the nearly universal grief that followed his death led to proposals that the council canonize him by acclamation.’
    • ‘Opus Dei, the work of God, is a little known institution within the Roman Catholic Church whose founder was canonized as saint in the year 2002.’
    • ‘The official Church recognizes Juliana for her leadership role in the movement to establish the Feast of Corpus Christi, first celebrated in Liege in 1246; she was canonized in the nineteenth century.’
    • ‘She was canonized for the wrong reasons, but her words and actions are stronger than the seal set on her by Rome.’
    • ‘At any historical moment, the church canonizes people whom it needs to canonize to make a point about what it considers, at that period, an exemplary life.’
    • ‘Xavier University was founded by Katharine Drexel, someone who is now Saint Katharine Drexel, because Pope John Paul II canonized her.’
    • ‘Most intriguing are the author's speculations as to why Joan was finally canonized in 1920.’
    • ‘He was canonized in 1935 and is commemorated on 22 June.’
    • ‘Judaism does not canonize people as saints nor does it demand the performance of miracles from its heroes.’
    • ‘From soon after his death posthumous miracles had begun to be attributed to him, and he was officially canonised by Pope John XXII in 1320.’
    • ‘In 1761 Clement XIII approved his beatification; John XXIII canonized him in 1960.’
    beatify, declare to be a saint
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    1. 1.1 Regard as being above reproach or of great significance.
      ‘we have canonized freedom of speech as an absolute value overriding all others’
      • ‘To this end we focus on three aspects: the dominance of British topics and authors, the opening up of the canonised methodological approach and the alleged dominance of railway history.’
      • ‘You are practically canonizing parents - saying that They Love You More Than Life Itself; They Have Your Best Interests At Heart; They Only Want What's Best For You.’
      • ‘I'd say the great failing of most intellectual ‘isms’ is that first a model is constructed, then canonized, so that the non-correspondence of reality to the model is seen as a flaw in the people who don't fit the model's caricature.’
      • ‘Universities as institutions for basic research and high-level instruction have to maintain, increase and communicate that type of knowledge that is not readily canonized into mass education.’
      • ‘This particular effort, however, more closely resembles Plato's canonized critique in the Phaedrus of the new technology called writing.’
      • ‘Indeterminacy, now canonized, becomes the favorite mark of an art form that has no determinacy in a capitalist society.’
      • ‘In our collective memory of historical events, some players are canonized, others are diminished, and the process that separates them often seems arbitrary.’
      • ‘Some history books have canonized people who have ravaged the rich and shared the treasure with the poor.’
      • ‘By presenting the regime's ideology as the criterion for judgment he abolishes it as a subject for inquiry and awards it a moral and canonized status, which stands above any questioning or criticism.’
      • ‘He employed standard sociological research methods to a degree unparalleled by the canonized classical sociologists of religion.’
      glorify, acclaim
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  • 2Sanction by Church authority.

    • ‘Although his version of the myth has become canonized, many of his details were inventions or alterations.’
    • ‘The contents of the New Testament were formalized by Athanasius of Alexandria in 367 CE, and finally canonized in 382 CE.’
    • ‘Scripture was vetted and canonized, and a creed adopted and reaffirmed against those who would challenge, alter, or undermine it.’
    sanctify, bless, make holy, make sacred, hallow, set apart, dedicate to god
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Late Middle English: from late Latin canonizare ‘admit as authoritative’ (in medieval Latin ‘admit to the list of recognized saints’), from Latin canon (see canon).