Definition of canyon in English:



  • A deep gorge, typically one with a river flowing through it, as found in North America.

    [in place names] ‘the Grand Canyon’
    • ‘We've all seen earlier images of the Mars surface, which showed valleys and canyons.’
    • ‘There is no place as mysterious or haunting as the canyons and valleys of the American Southwest.’
    • ‘The book was an argument for preventing further dams in the Colorado River canyons.’
    • ‘While on the subject of canyons, there are some really spectacular underwater canyons off Great Dog Island to the west of Tortola.’
    • ‘Towering bridges crossed creeks, ravines and canyons, while down below huge waves swept across rocks and deserted beaches.’
    • ‘Before long, more prospectors arrived and followed the gold trail up the canyons to the west of the river.’
    • ‘Oak woodland develops best in moist, protected canyons and valleys with deep alluvial soils.’
    • ‘Crops were withering, cattle were dying, and the river that once sculpted canyons was a trickle.’
    • ‘The canyon opened into vast boulder fields, where the river sometimes disappeared in the distance.’
    • ‘The trip in March 2005 includes five days and nights in the Sierra del Escambray mountains and treks through limestone canyons.’
    • ‘The trip passes by waterfalls, forests, canyons, valleys, sinkholes and caves.’
    • ‘The photography group go south again for the day, sheltered from the westerly wind to dive a maze of deep, narrow canyons.’
    • ‘We're utilizing the helicopters in some of the rough area to get into those deep, steep canyons.’
    • ‘It's a hard battle though because when you're at the bottom of a vast canyon looking up, it seems a hell of a climb to the top.’
    • ‘Camping and fishing are available down in the Pecos River canyon or you can hike up on the mesa.’
    • ‘Three fascinating cultures converge in the red rock canyons of Mesa Verde.’
    • ‘Outlanders often refuse to believe that Texas even has canyons or mountains, but this range is no mirage.’
    • ‘The coastline is varied, dramatic and rugged, cut with caves, gullies, canyons and sheer cliffs.’
    • ‘The helicopter then descended into the bottom of the canyon and landed on one side of the Colorado River.’
    • ‘She could barely see the outline of a river winding lazily through the canyon.’
    ravine, gorge, gully, pass, defile, couloir
    chasm, abyss, gulf
    gulch, coulee, flume
    arroyo, barranca, quebrada
    nullah, khud
    sloot, kloof, donga
    View synonyms


Mid 19th century: from Spanish cañón tube, based on Latin canna reed, cane.