A canal is a long, man-made strip of water used for irrigation or boat access to a bigger body of water, like the famous Erie Canal, which connects the Hudson River to Lake Erie.

Canal is related to the word channel, and all its different shades of meaning have to do with tunnel shaped spaces that carry liquid from one place to another. Besides man-made irrigation canals, canals that connect boat docks to rivers and oceans, or street-like canals in boat cities like Amsterdam, there are canals in your body, like your nasal canal, or the birth canal you came out of. It's also a verb meaning "to dig a canal."

Primary Meanings of canal

long and narrow strip of water made for boats or for irrigation
provide (a city) with a canal
a bodily passage or tube lined with epithelial cells and conveying a secretion or other substance
Full Definitions of canal

n long and narrow strip of water made for boats or for irrigation

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Caledonian Canal
a canal in northern Scotland that links North Sea with the Atlantic Ocean; runs diagonally between Moray Firth at the northeastern end and Loch Linnhe at the southwestern end; now little used
Caloosahatchee Canal
a canal that connects Lake Okeechobee with the Caloosahatchee River in southern Florida to form part of the Cross-Florida Waterway
Grand Canal
an inland waterway 1000 miles long in eastern China; extends from Tianjin in the north to Hangzhou in the south
Grand Canal
the major waterway in Venice, Italy
Cape Cod Canal
a canal connecting Cape Cod Bay with Buzzards Bay
Erie Canal
an artificial waterway connecting the Hudson river at Albany with Lake Erie at Buffalo; built in the 19th century; now part of the New York State Barge Canal
New York State Barge Canal
a system of canals crossing New York State and connecting the Great Lakes with the Hudson River and Lake Champlain
Gota Canal
a canal for small oceangoing ships to enter Lake Vanern in Sweden
Panama Canal
a ship canal 40 miles long across the Isthmus of Panama built by the United States (1904-1914)
Suez Canal
a ship canal in northeastern Egypt linking the Red Sea with the Mediterranean Sea
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a canal made by erosion or excavation
industrial watercourse
a canal that is operated by one or more industries
race, raceway
a canal for a current of water
ship canal, shipway
a canal large enough for seagoing vessels
Type of:
watercourse, waterway
a conduit through which water flows

n (astronomy) an indistinct surface feature of Mars once thought to be a system of channels; they are now believed to be an optical illusion

Type of:
a deep and relatively narrow body of water (as in a river or a harbor or a strait linking two larger bodies) that allows the best passage for vessels

v provide (a city) with a canal

canalise, canalize
Type of:
furnish, provide, render, supply
give something useful or necessary to

n a bodily passage or tube lined with epithelial cells and conveying a secretion or other substance

“the alimentary canal
channel, duct, epithelial duct
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any small opening in the skin or outer surface of an animal
canalis vertebralis, spinal canal, vertebral canal
the canal in successive vertebrae through which the spinal cord passes
ductule, ductulus
a very small duct
a small canal or duct as in some bones and parts of plants
Schlemm's canal, canal of Schlemm, sinus venosus sclerae
a circular canal in the eye that drains aqueous humor from the anterior chamber of the eye into the anterior ciliary veins
sinus, venous sinus
a wide channel containing blood; does not have the coating of an ordinary blood vessel
lachrymal duct, lacrimal duct, tear duct
any of several small ducts that carry tears from the lacrimal glands
nasolacrimal duct
a duct that carries tears from the lacrimal sac to the nasal cavity
Haversian canal
any of the many tiny canals that contain blood vessels and connective tissue and that form a network in bone
hepatic duct
the duct that drains bile from the liver
canalis inguinalis, inguinal canal
oblique passage through the lower abdominal wall; in males it is the passage through which the testes descend into the scrotum and it contains the spermatic cord; in females it transmits the round ligament of the uterus
bile duct, common bile duct
a duct formed by the hepatic and cystic ducts; opens into the duodenum
pancreatic duct
a duct connecting the pancreas with the intestine
lymph vessel, lymphatic vessel
a vascular duct that carries lymph which is eventually added to the venous blood circulation
salivary duct
a duct through which saliva passes from the salivary gland into the mouth
Sylvian aqueduct, aqueductus cerebri, cerebral aqueduct
a canal connecting the third and fourth ventricles
either of a pair of thick-walled tubes that carry urine from the kidney to the urinary bladder
duct through which urine is discharged in most mammals and which serves as the male genital duct
canalis cervicis uteri, cervical canal
a spindle-shaped canal extending from the uterus to the vagina
umbilical, umbilical cord
membranous duct connecting the fetus with the placenta
the lower part of the female reproductive tract; a moist canal in female mammals extending from the labia minora to the uterus
a convoluted tubule in each testis; carries sperm to vas deferens
ductus deferens, vas deferens
a duct that carries spermatozoa from the epididymis to the ejaculatory duct
ejaculatory duct
a part of the seminal duct formed by the duct from the seminal vesicle and the vas deferens; passes through the prostate gland
cartilaginous tube
a duct with cartilaginous walls
any of the smallest bronchial ducts; ending in alveoli
GI tract, alimentary canal, alimentary tract, digestive tract, digestive tube, gastrointestinal tract
tubular passage of mucous membrane and muscle extending about 8.3 meters from mouth to anus; functions in digestion and elimination
lactiferous duct
ducts of the mammary gland that carry milk to the nipple
cavernous sinus, sinus cavernosus
either of a pair of large venous sinuses in the cranial cavity
coronary sinus, sinus coronarius
a short sinus receiving most of the veins of the heart; empties into the right atrium
sigmoid sinus, sinus sigmoideus
an S-shaped dural sinus on the temporal and occipital bones
sinus rectus, straight sinus, tentorial sinus
an unpaired sinus of the dura mater
sinus transversus, transverse sinus
a paired dural sinus; terminates in the sigmoid sinus
sweat duct
a small duct that conveys sweat from a sudoriferous gland to the surface of the skin
biliary ductule
excretory ducts of the liver; empty into the hepatic ducts
thoracic duct
the major duct of the lymphatic system
any of the lymphatic vessels that convey chyle from the small intestine to the thoracic duct
bronchial tube, bronchus
either of the two main branches of the trachea
trachea, windpipe
membranous tube with cartilaginous rings that conveys inhaled air from the larynx to the bronchi
the alimentary canal (especially of an embryo or a coelenterate)
a small pore especially one in the reproductive bodies of certain algae and fungi through which spores pass
Type of:
passage, passageway
a path or channel or duct through or along which something may pass

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