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can·on 1 (kănən)
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n.
1. An ecclesiastical law or code of laws established by a church council.
2. A secular law, rule, or code of law.
3.
a. An established principle: the canons of polite society.
b. A basis for judgment; a standard or criterion.
4. The books of the Bible officially accepted as Holy Scripture.
5.
a. A group of literary works that are generally accepted as representing a field: "the durable canon of American short fiction" (William Styron).
b. The works of a writer that have been accepted as authentic: the entire Shakespeare canon.
c. Material considered to be officially part of a fictional universe or considered to fit within the history established by a fictional universe: "The Harry Potter series was one of the first pieces of media to inspire widespread fan fiction writing, probably because its popularity coincided with the early days of the Internet, but its creator has also shown herself more than willing to keep updating the canon" (Emma Cueto).
6. Canon The part of the Mass beginning after the Preface and Sanctus and ending just before the Lord's Prayer.
7. The calendar of saints accepted by the Roman Catholic Church.
8. Music A composition or passage in which a melody is imitated by one or more voices at fixed intervals of pitch and time.

[Middle English canoun, from Old English canon and from Old French, both from Latin canōn, rule, from Greek kanōn, measuring rod, rule, of Semitic origin; see qnw in the Appendix of Semitic roots.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
can·on 2 (kănən)
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n.
1. A member of a chapter of priests serving in a cathedral or collegiate church.
2. A member of certain religious communities living under a common rule and bound by vows.

[Middle English canoun, from Norman French canun, from Late Latin canōnicus, one living under a rule, from Latin canōn, rule; see CANON1.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
ca·ñon (kănyən)
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n.
Archaic
Variant of canyon.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices

    Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

    Indo-European Roots

    Semitic Roots

    The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.

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