Definition of cannon in English:



  • 1A large, heavy piece of artillery, typically mounted on wheels, formerly used in warfare.

    • ‘However, the Irish needed the castle's large cannon for use in reducing other strongholds in the region, and were anxious to do so with the minimum delay.’
    • ‘There was a sudden shaking and rumble of cannons and battering-rams and I saw flames flickering.’
    • ‘Troops in red coats and blue coats shot off cannons and artillery in his fields as all the people living there sat on the deck, cheering for one side or the other.’
    • ‘In her article on the last days of Byzantium, Judith Herrin emphasises just how noisy they were, with drums and trumpets and church bells sounding over the roar of cannon and the clash of steel.’
    • ‘The cannons still battered the fort because they could feel the stone beneath them rumble in response to each hit, and then the loud explosion that came after.’
    • ‘Sticks and stones gave way to swords, spears, cannons, guns and nuclear weapons.’
    • ‘The massive launching blast of the howitzer cannon deafened all that were near.’
    • ‘It's claimed that when the park was turned into a parade ground, practicing troops often found their cannons ' wheels caught in the ruts of graves that had collapsed in on themselves under the weight above them.’
    • ‘So powerful was the result that Chepstow continued in use until 1690, being finally adapted for cannon and musketry after an epic Civil War siege.’
    • ‘But in the visual chaos, one can discern leaning buildings, a crowd of people, and in the lower right, a wheeled, blasting cannon.’
    • ‘Tommy Lynch of Leighlin wrote the ballad, and the old artillery piece was the cannon on the steps of the Courthouse in Carlow.’
    • ‘Archaeologists yesterday put on show a 17th century cannon recovered from a wreck dubbed Scotland's Mary Rose.’
    • ‘Rebel riflemen flung themselves on smoking union cannons firing pointblank, bayonets stabbing, taking vengeance on the cannoneers.’
    • ‘Spitbank Fort boasts commanding views over the Solent, which its battery of 15 giant cannons used to protect, and can also rake in around £300,000 a year in revenue.’
    • ‘The sound of cannons firing and bayonets clashing together is what I think of when I think of war.’
    • ‘But the salute, which started slightly late and with one cannon out of action after a round misfired, left him slightly disappointed.’
    • ‘The military arms enthusiast was given the specialist task of replacing two historic cannon which once stood on the steps of Ashton Town Hall.’
    • ‘Everyone in Charleston could hear the cannons firing.’
    • ‘If a cannon is fired from atop a high hill, the cannonball will fall to Earth, landing some distance away.’
    mounted gun, field gun, gun, piece of artillery, piece of ordnance
    mortar, howitzer
    big gun
    carronade, bombard, culverin, falconet, long tom, serpentine
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1An automatic heavy gun that fires shells from an aircraft or tank.
      • ‘The cannon crews defended their guns with everything they had, turning from guns to knives and even their bare knuckles.’
      • ‘An issue requiring further debate relates to whether the Army should continue to place importance on heavy tanks and cannons.’
      • ‘Once they were in close, they could deliver devastating fire from their cannon and rocket armament; only a few hits could bring down a heavy bomber.’
      • ‘Major weapons systems, such as aircraft carriers, fighter jets, artillery cannons and submarines are likely to be much less useful in unconventional wars.’
      • ‘In 1968 Gen. Franks returned to Fort Sill, where he commanded a cannon battery in the Artillery Training Center.’
      • ‘A single-seater aircraft, it looked rather tiny, but the 37 mm cannon in its nose, its barrel protruding through the propeller boss, was not.’
      • ‘The fighters fired their cannons but did not hit the American aircraft.’
      • ‘Pro-Taylor militia fighters raced through the city in jeeps at dawn yesterday with mounted cannons and rocket-propelled grenade launchers.’
      • ‘The talk is all of what happened on Swift Boats thirty-five years ago, not of the cannons being fired from US AC - 130 gunships this week.’
      • ‘With new money came new and more lethal weapons: Antonov bombers, helicopter gunships, artillery cannons.’
      • ‘In some missions, you'll be required to hop on an antiaircraft gun and shoot down enemy fighter planes, while in others you'll be manning chain guns and cannons on moving boats and trucks.’
      • ‘This enormous flying boat, also known as the Flying Porcupine, was heavily armed with defensive weapons, including five 20 mm cannons and four machine-guns.’
      • ‘For the next thirty minutes, the two tanks traveled in opposite directions, completely destroying the convoy with their one twenty millimeter cannons and 50 caliber machine guns.’
      • ‘The number of smooth-bore cannons used as artillery increased steadily.’
      mounted gun, field gun, gun, piece of artillery, piece of ordnance
      mortar, howitzer
      big gun
      carronade, bombard, culverin, falconet, long tom, serpentine
      View synonyms
  • 2British Billiards
    A carom.

    • ‘A player makes a cannon by hitting the object balls with the cue ball.’
    • ‘The Irishman had squandered several leads during a see-saw match, but he found his groove at the end, benefiting from a lucky cannon to get among the balls.’
  • 3Engineering
    A heavy cylinder or hollow drum that is able to rotate independently on a shaft.

    • ‘The barrel of the cannon passed through the reduction gearbox and the propeller hub.’
    • ‘I have news for you folks, a cannon is a machine tool.’
    • ‘As the outer layers cooled, they compressed the inner layers, giving the cannon greater tensile strength.’
    • ‘It looked like a central metal shaft with two spherical boosters on the side, and a main cannon in the front of the central shaft.’


[NO OBJECT]Billiards
  • Make a cannon shot.

    • ‘Eight white balls are then struck in succession by a player in an effort to get the balls to fall into the holes with the restriction that the ball being played must cannon off another ball before falling into a hole.’
    • ‘Having potted one, Tony tried to move some balls into the open but one ball cannoned onto another and in seconds it clipped the black sending it down.’


Late Middle English: from French canon, from Italian cannone large tube from canna cane, reed (see cane).