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canon (noun) a law or laws of the Church; a standard or criterion by which an action is judged; a basic principle or rule; the complete works of an author; a priest of a cathedral; a piece of music in which the singers or instruments repeat the same tune one after another.

A law or laws of the Church are canon. It is also called canon law. Canon law is obeyed by the faithful in all matters concerning religion. The Church gives it the utmost importance. A standard or a set of standards in comparison with which people's actions, performances, etc., are judged, is canon. 'Her work fails by any canons of literary merit.' This means that her work is unfit to be considered a work of literature on the basis of any literary principle. 'The decision is unfair according to the canons of justice and fair play.' This means that the decision is unjust according to known principles of justice. The complete works of an author is also canon. The complete works of Shakespeare are the Shakespeare canon. In music, if the instruments or the singers repeat the same melody one after another, it is canon.

  • The President's action of ordering an attack on a small country is against all canons of justice, as a number of women and children have been killed in the attack.
  • The canons of natural justice do not accept one person killing another person, whatever the provocation, as God alone has the right to take life.
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Last Modified : 11-May 2009
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