Definition of Canopic jar in US English:

Canopic jar

(also Canopic vase)


  • A covered urn used in ancient Egyptian burials to hold the entrails from an embalmed body.

    • ‘Various methods of preservation were developed, the most sophisticated of which was that which used Canopic jars.’
    • ‘In another little room there's the shrine which contains the Canopic vases and here are the four guardian figures of girls which Professor Breasted told me were masterpieces of art.’
    • ‘The very rare and precious inheritance of the Museum consists in relief cippi, bucaros, Canopic vases and inscriptions.’
    • ‘The heads of the Canopic jars represent the four sons of Horus.’
    • ‘Amongst its most important artistic and historical exhibits are the completely-preserved contents of a princely tomb, the pediment of a temple and the world's largest collection of decorated Canopic vases.’


Late 19th century: Canopic from Latin Canopicus, from Canopus, the name of a town in ancient Egypt.


Canopic jar