"Canon" has lots of meanings. For one, a canon is a law laid down by the Church (for example, that priests can't enter public inns.)
More generally, a canon is a rule or principle that people are expected to follow, or a standard of judgment. (You can also talk about "the canon," meaning the set of standards that everyone is supposed to follow.)
So, something canonicalfollows the rules or standards that society expects.
kuh NON ick ull
Part of speech:
(Adjectives are describing words, like “large” or “late.”
They can be used in two ways:
1. Right before a noun, as in “a canonical novel.”
2. After a linking verb, as in "The novel was canonical.”)
How to use it:
This word helps you describe standard, authoritative things that conform to the expectations of society.
So, you talk about canonical works of art or canonical works of literature, meaning the ones that everybody knows about and everybody accepts them as "good." Describing certain people as canonical playwrights (like Shakespeare) or canonical explorers (like Columbus) or canonical leaders (like Martin Luther King) means that these are the standard, authoritative ones that everyone knows about.
But it's not just history, literature, and art where we find canonical people and things: any other realm or field that has its own rules to follow will have canonical stuff you can talk about, like the canonical ingredients in southern cooking, the canonical moves in a certain sport or type of dancing, the canonical elements of a country song, the canonical subjects of a TED talk, the canonical features of Spanish architecture, and so on.
More generally, you can talk about a canonical example of something, a canonical version of something, the canonical status or importance of something, etc. And because rules evolve and tastes change, you can also talk about things that are becoming canonical or things that are no longer canonical.
Drew is from Philadelphia and until college had never experienced that canonical Southern dish: grits.
About half of her iTunes music library is canonical, and the rest is obscure composers and super-hip indie bands.
Look away from the screen to explain the definition in your own words. You’ll know you understand what "canonical" means when you can explain it without saying "authoritative" or "orthodox."
Think of someone or something famous that's well-known and really impressive, and fill in the blanks: "_____ deserves its/his/her canonical status."
Example: "Firefly really deserves its canonical status. Almost every episode was a richly imaginative, well-told story."
Spend at least 20 seconds occupying your mind with the game and quote below. Then try the review questions. Don’t go straight to the review now—let your working memory empty out first.
Playing With Words:
This month, challenge your powers of memory and recall (or just get ready to reign supreme on Wheel of Fortune) as we play with two-word phrases that you’ll find in a dictionary. We’ll start off with easy tasks and advance to harder ones as the month goes on. See the right answer to each question the following day. You might even see a new phrase that inspires your curiosity and makes you look it up. Have fun! (Note: Every dictionary recognizes a different set of two-word phrases. I used the OED to make these game questions.)
You’ll see the first word of each phrase, along with plenty of letters in the second word. See how many of them you can think of:
Try this one today:
You’ll see the first word of each phrase, along with just a few letters in the second word. See how many of them you can think of:
John F. Kennedy: “If we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity.”
1. One opposite of CANONICAL is
A. ON THE FRINGE
B. UNDER THE TABLE
C. ON TOP OF THE WORLD
2. Will the magazine industry ever relinquish their hold on that canonical _____?
A. template for feminine beauty
B. abundance of heady perfume samples
C. mishmash of both filler and actual content
Answers are below.
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Disclaimer: Word meanings presented here are expressed in plain language and are limited to common, useful applications only. Readers interested in authoritative and multiple definitions of words are encouraged to check a dictionary. Likewise, word meanings, usage, and pronunciations are limited to American English; these elements may vary across world Englishes.