One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Of, relating to, or designating those books of scripture accepted into the biblical canon at an early date with little or no debate. Opposed to deuterocanonical.
Early 17th century; earliest use found in John Boys (d. 1625), dean of Canterbury. From post-classical Latin protocanonicus + -al. In later use probably partly also directly from proto- + canonical. Compare French protocanonique.
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