canon

Canon (one “n”) refers to a collection of rules or texts that are considered to be authoritative. Shakespeare and Chaucer are part of the canon of Western literature, so you might read their work in an English class.

A canon can also be a body of work, like the Shakespeare canon, which includes all of the Bard's plays and poems. These days, many schools and colleges include more diverse and underrepresented authors in literature classes and encourage students to read works not included in the standard literary canon. The literary canon can change with time, and so can the cultural canon. Don't confuse this word with cannon with two n's, the big gun that shoots bowling-size balls at the enemy.

Primary Meanings of canon

1.
n
a collection of books accepted as holy scripture especially the books of the Bible recognized by any Christian church as genuine and inspired
2.
n
a priest who is a member of a cathedral chapter
3.
n
a contrapuntal piece of music in which a melody in one part is imitated exactly in other parts
4.
n
a ravine formed by a river in an area with little rainfall
Full Definitions of canon
1

n a collection of books accepted as holy scripture especially the books of the Bible recognized by any Christian church as genuine and inspired

Type of:
sacred scripture, scripture
any writing that is regarded as sacred by a religious group

n a rule or especially body of rules or principles generally established as valid and fundamental in a field or art or philosophy

“the neoclassical canon
canons of polite society”
Type of:
prescript, rule
prescribed guide for conduct or action

n a complete list of saints that have been recognized by the Roman Catholic Church

Type of:
list, listing
a database containing an ordered array of items (names or topics)
2

n a priest who is a member of a cathedral chapter

Types:
prebendary
a canon who receives a prebend for serving the church
Type of:
priest
a clergyman in Christian churches who has the authority to perform or administer various religious rites; one of the Holy Orders
3

n a contrapuntal piece of music in which a melody in one part is imitated exactly in other parts

Types:
enigma canon, enigmatic canon, enigmatical canon, riddle canon
a canon in which the entrances of successive parts were indicated by cryptic symbols and devices (popular in the 15th and 16th centuries)
Type of:
composition, musical composition, opus, piece, piece of music
a musical work that has been created
4

n a ravine formed by a river in an area with little rainfall

Synonyms:
canyon
Type of:
ravine
a deep narrow steep-sided valley (especially one formed by running water)

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