Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search
See also: Cannon


A cannon (artillery piece)


Attested from around 1400 as Middle English canon, 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 (mainly UK) cannons or 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
    1. (military, 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 that 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. (printing, uncountable) Alternative form of canon (a large size of type)
  10. (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.

Related terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. 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, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Collins, 1998, Chapter 11,
      She ran down the stairs which she had come up so nervously that morning and cannoned into Edmund at the bottom.



  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]