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See also: Cannon


A cannon (artillery piece)

Etymology 1[edit]

Attested from around 1400 as Middle English canon, canoun, from Old French canon, from Italian cannone, from Latin canna, from Ancient Greek κάννα (kánna, reed), from Akkadian 𒄀 (qanû, reed), from Sumerian 𒄀𒈾 ( Doublet of canyon.

This spelling was not fixed until about 1800.[1][2]



cannon (countable and uncountable, plural cannons or (mainly UK) cannon)[3]

  1. A complete assembly, consisting of an artillery tube and a breech mechanism, firing mechanism or base cap, which is a component of a gun, howitzer or mortar. It may include muzzle appendages.[4]
  2. Any similar device for shooting material out of a tube.
    water cannon, glitter cannon, confetti cannon, potato cannon
    1. (military, chiefly aviation) An autocannon.
  3. A bone of a horse's leg, between the fetlock joint and the knee or hock.
  4. A cannon bit.
  5. (historical) A large muzzle-loading artillery piece.
  6. (sports, billiards, snooker, pool) A carom.
    In English billiards, a cannon is when one's cue ball strikes the other player's cue ball and the red ball on the same shot; and it is worth two points.
  7. (baseball, figuratively, informal) The arm of a player who can throw well.
    He's got a cannon out in right.
  8. (engineering) A hollow cylindrical piece carried by a revolving shaft, on which it may, however, revolve independently.
  9. (historical) A cylindrical item of plate armor protecting the arm, particularly one of a pair of such cylinders worn with a couter, the upper cannon protecting the upper arm and the lower cannon protecting the forearm.
    Coordinate terms: rerebrace, vambrace
    • 1949, The Connoisseur:
      The pauldrons are rather weak, but the cannons of the vambraces are good and come from an Italian armour of considerably earlier date, for they have the tulip form of the first half of the century.
    • 1972, Claude Blair, European Armour: Circa 1066 to Circa 1700:
      During the second half of the century the upper cannons were often joined to the pauldrons [] Here the cannons and the couter, although separate, are joined together when worn by the points securing them to the arming []
    • 2007, Kelly DeVries, Robert Douglas Smith, Medieval Weapons: An Illustrated History of Their Impact, ABC-CLIO, →ISBN, page 178:
      The breastplate was now usually globular in shape with attached tassets. The arm defenses were almost always in one piece, the lower and upper cannons joined permanently to the couter with internal leathers and rivets, and the whole frequently also joined permanently to the pauldron.
  10. (printing, uncountable) Alternative form of canon (a large size of type)
  11. (xiangqi) A piece which moves horizontally and vertically like a rook but captures another piece by jumping over a different piece in the line of attack.
  12. (US, slang) A pickpocket.
    • 1977, Robert S. Weppner, Street ethnography, page 70:
      I also learned never to conspicuoulsy[sic] watch a cannon while he was working. Pickpockets dislike being watched, even by those who may be "right," because they become uneasy and clumsy and feel conspicuous.
    • 2009, James Thomson, Bedlam City: Savage Worlds Edition, page 377:
      A good pickpocket is known to his fellows as a pistol. Rufus Dayne is a cannon. One of the best pickpockets in the country, he makes close to a million dollars a year and has no criminal record at all.
Derived terms[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


cannon (third-person singular simple present cannons, present participle cannoning, simple past and past participle cannoned)

  1. To bombard with cannons.
  2. (sports, billiards, snooker, pool) To play the carom billiard shot; to strike two balls with the cue ball.
    The white cannoned off the red onto the pink.
  3. To fire something, especially spherical, rapidly.
    • 2011 September 2, “Wales 2-1 Montenegro”, in BBC[1]:
      Montenegro had hardly threatened in the second period but served notice they were still potent as Nikola Vukcevic took a smart pass from Jovetic and cannoned a shot off Hennessey's shins.
  4. To collide or strike violently, especially so as to glance off or rebound.
    • 1898, Rudyard Kipling, “The Maltese Cat”, in The Day's Work[2]:
      [] he heard the right-hand goal post crack as a pony cannoned into it—crack, splinter, and fall like a mast.
    • 1952, C. S. Lewis, chapter 11, in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Collins, published 1998:
      She ran down the stairs which she had come up so nervously that morning and cannoned into Edmund at the bottom.

See also[edit]

Xiangqi pieces in English (see also: xiangqi) (layout · text)
general advisor elephant horse chariot cannon soldier


  1. ^ Barnhart, Robert K.; Editor. The Barnhart Concise Dictionary of Etymology. 1995 HarperResource/HarperCollins P.102.
  2. ^ Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged. Merriam-Webster, 2002. (December 26, 2006).
  3. ^ Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus, 4th ed. (Cambridge University Press, 2013).
  4. ^ (JP 1-02 Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms).

Further reading[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]


cannon (plural cannons)

  1. (fandom slang) Misspelling of canon.


cannon (not comparable)

  1. (fandom slang) Misspelling of canon.