Definition of canalize in English:



  • 1 Convert (a river) into a navigable canal.

    • ‘It will include road-building projects, canalising the Araguaia, das Mortes, Xingu, Madeira and Tocantins rivers, hydroelectric projects, mining, and expansion of agribusiness.’
    • ‘Some wetlands were drained, as noted above, and rivers and watercourses were canalized.’
    • ‘Its rise to fame dates only from the middle of the 19th century when the river Baise was canalized and the Armagnacais gained direct access to Bordeaux for the first time.’
    • ‘The stream then flows towards the Parkview Golf Course, where sections of it are canalised.’
    • ‘This was a side effect of the Industrial Revolution; many of our rivers were canalised and made navigable during the C19th which stuffed it all up with weirs and locks and pollution.’
    • ‘Today this stream is canalised, but in winter the ditch still holds much water; over a metre impeded our survey in April and May.’
    • ‘They have grown up on the wetlands that have formed in former pools and ponds since the Tisza was canalised and its floods brought under control in the 19th century.’
    • ‘Over the years the river has been canalised and the banks have been made more robust.’
    • ‘On drains, and rivers canalised by man, with mile upon mile of seemingly identical water, finding a group of pike is much less likely.’
    • ‘Mr Vaughan said the agency was planning a major project to replace the system, which was canalised between 1972 and 1978 by the former North West Water Rivers Division.’
    • ‘The river is canalised through this section of Parkhurst, and the walls are over four metres high in places.’
    • ‘Long stretches of streams have been canalised - the canal at the beginning of Barry Hertzog Avenue contains some beautiful stonework - but in the process the city has lost valuable natural streams.’
    • ‘‘Water courses were rerouted and canalised to combat the danger of floods and to cultivate swampland,’ said Schaelchli.’
    1. 1.1Convey (something) through a duct or channel.
      • ‘Tactical minefields are smaller and are laid around a battalion or company position to block approaches and canalise vehicles into smaller killing grounds.’
      • ‘Avenues of approach tend to canalize the enemy due to the parallel ridges through which he must move.’
      • ‘Vascular tissue formation follows the flow of auxin, which is canalized into files of cells so that connected vascular strands form.’
      • ‘One of the greatest threats to a ground force comes when it moves through canalizing terrain or when it maneuvers through other types of barriers.’
      • ‘The bocage, low-lying country with high hedgerows, offered insufficient routes of advance and canalized American movements, which the Germans easily countered.’
      • ‘The only significant natural damaging action, in the current climate, is erosion by topographically canalised rain water, mostly confined to becks and burns.’
      • ‘A tactical minefield is one which would block an enemy's advance and canalize his movement towards a ‘killing area’ observed by the defending force.’
    2. 1.2Give a direction or purpose to (something)
      ‘his strategy was to canalize the enthusiasm of the diehards into party channels’
      • ‘This party, which has uniquely specialised in canalising the discontent of the ordinary citizen, reacting to his concerns and then pacifying him - usually only with promises - is now clinically dead.’
      • ‘We need to canalize public anger in a way that really makes an impact.’
      • ‘He was a compulsive talker and he canalized this trait into magical extempore lectures of extraordinary duration - often of up to a day or more with breaks for meals.’
      • ‘E.M. Forster and Benjamin Britten canalised their homosexuality into works of art that celebrated the social outsider.’
      • ‘The Romans were a litigious lot and created a vast structure of law which saved the Republic by canalising disputes into the courts.’
      • ‘With a view to capturing and canalizing the excess energy of this segment of the populations, several organizations have been created with the ostensible purpose of serving youths as well as other social interests.’
      • ‘In these areas, rigid protocols tend to canalize patients' responses into the investigators' format, leaving out interesting and important data.’


Mid 19th century: from French canaliser, from canal channel (see canal).