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Definition of Canon


  1. A law or rule.
  2. A law, or rule of doctrine or discipline, enacted by a council and confirmed by the pope or the sovereign; a decision, regulation, code, or constitution made by ecclesiastical authority.
  3. The collection of books received as genuine Holy Scriptures, called the sacred canon, or general rule of moral and religious duty, given by inspiration; the Bible; also, any one of the canonical Scriptures. See Canonical books, under Canonical, a.
  4. In monasteries, a book containing the rules of a religious order.
  5. A catalogue of saints acknowledged and canonized in the Roman Catholic Church.
  6. A member of a cathedral chapter; a person who possesses a prebend in a cathedral or collegiate church.
  7. A musical composition in which the voices begin one after another, at regular intervals, successively taking up the same subject. It either winds up with a coda (tailpiece), or, as each voice finishes, commences anew, thus forming a perpetual fugue or round. It is the strictest form of imitation. See Imitation.
  8. The largest size of type having a specific name; -- so called from having been used for printing the canons of the church.
  9. The part of a bell by which it is suspended; -- called also ear and shank.
  10. See Carom.
  11. A deep gorge, ravine, or gulch, between high and steep banks, worn by water courses.

Canon Quotations

Art is not the application of a canon of beauty but what the instinct and the brain can conceive beyond any canon. When we love a woman we don't start measuring her limbs.
Pablo Picasso

The greatest block today in the way of woman's emancipation is the church, the canon law, the Bible and the priesthood.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton

You have to have a canon so the next generation can come along and explode it.
Henry Louis Gates

In the history of the prophetic biblical canon that starts with Genesis, the Koran is by far the most tolerant of the views of other religions.
Reza Aslan

After the war, prompted by the Cardinal Archbishop of Paris, I entered Parliament so that a priest could speak out for the poor, as canon law at that time still permitted.
Abbe Pierre
More "Canon" Quotations

Canon Translations

canon in German is Stiftsherr
canon in Latin is canonus
canon in Swedish is kanon
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