1. An artificial waterway or artificially improved river used for travel, shipping, or irrigation.
2. Anatomy A tube, duct, or passageway.
3. Astronomy One of the faint, hazy markings resembling straight lines on early telescopic images of the surface of Mars.
tr.v. ca·nalled, ca·nal·ling, ca·nals or ca·naled or ca·nal·ing
1. To dig an artificial waterway through: canal an isthmus.
2. To provide with an artificial waterway or waterways.
[Partly French, channel, and partly Middle English, tube (from Medieval Latin canāle), both from Latin canālis, tube, channel, probably from canna, small reed; see CANE.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.
American Heritage Dictionary Products
The American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Edition
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms
The American Heritage Roget's Thesaurus
Curious George's Dictionary
The American Heritage Children's Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots
The American Heritage Student Grammar Dictionary
The American Heritage Desk Dictionary + Thesaurus
The American Heritage Science Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Business Terms
The American Heritage Student Dictionary
The American Heritage Essential Student Thesaurus