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illustration Canonical



Part of speech: adjective

Origin: Latin, 16th century


(of an artist or work) Belonging to the literary or artistic canon.


Accepted as being accurate and authoritative.

Examples of Canonical in a sentence

"Little Richard is canonical in the history of rock 'n' roll."

"Many great works of literature that are now considered canonical were ignored upon their first publication."

About Canonical

“Canonical” is based on the Latin “canonicālis,” meaning subject to the “canōn,” meaning rules. In Ecclesiastical Latin, “canōn” came to mean the authorized catalog of books of the Bible or saints.

Did you Know?

“Canonical” originally described religious documents accepted as authentic by the Roman Catholic Church. However, the term now has a secular meaning describing books and other works of art permanently established in certain top tiers of literary greatness. For example, William Shakespeare and Jane Austen are considered reigning members of the English literature canon, but Toni Morrison and Kurt Vonnegut belong to a more specific canon of 20th-century American literature.

illustration Canonical

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