A cannon is a large gun that fires heavy metal shells or other projectiles. Originally it was attached to wheels and pulled by men.

More recently, cannon refers to the largest gun on a tank or the automatic guns on a plane. All cannons, however old they are, have basically the same shape — a long, thick tube. Not surprising, then, that the term comes from the Latin word canna, meaning "tube" or "reed." Do not confuse with the word canon, with one n, which is a term of classification, as in its most common usage, "the literary canon."

Definitions of cannon
  1. noun
    a large artillery gun that is usually on wheels
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    ancient brass cannon
    a heavy cannon with a long barrel used in the 16th and 17th centuries
    harpoon gun
    a cannon or similar gun that fires harpoons
    high-angle gun
    a cannon that can be fired at a high elevation for relatively short ranges
    long tom
    a long swivel cannon formerly used by the navy
    howitzer, mortar, trench mortar
    a muzzle-loading high-angle gun with a short barrel that fires shells at high elevations for a short range
    type of:
    artillery, gun, heavy weapon, ordnance
    large but transportable armament
  2. noun
    heavy gun fired from a tank
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    type of:
    a weapon that discharges a missile at high velocity (especially from a metal tube or barrel)
  3. noun
    heavy automatic gun fired from an airplane
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    type of:
    a weapon that discharges a missile at high velocity (especially from a metal tube or barrel)
  4. verb
    fire a cannon
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    type of:
    discharge, muster out
    release from military service
  5. noun
    (Middle Ages) a cylindrical piece of armor plate to protect the arm
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    rerebrace, upper cannon
    cannon that provides plate armor for the upper arm
    lower cannon, vambrace
    cannon of plate armor protecting the forearm
    type of:
    armor plate, armor plating, armour plate, plate armor, plate armour
    specially hardened steel plate used to protect fortifications or vehicles from enemy fire
  6. noun
    lower part of the leg extending from the hock to the fetlock in hoofed mammals
    synonyms: shank
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    type of:
    body part
    any part of an organism such as an organ or extremity
  7. noun
    a shot in billiards in which the cue ball contacts one object ball and then the other
    synonyms: carom
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    type of:
    shot, stroke
    (sports) the act of swinging or striking at a ball with a club or racket or bat or cue or hand
  8. verb
    make a cannon
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    type of:
    cause to move by striking
Commonly confused words

cannon / canon

Cannon, with two n's, is a long heavy gun on wheels. Lose an n and the word canon is a set of rules or traditions. If you thought these words were spelled the same, you're not wrong: they used to be.

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