Definition of canister in English:


Line breaks: can¦is|ter
Pronunciation: /ˈkanɪstə


1A round or cylindrical container used for storing such things as food, chemicals, or rolls of film.
More example sentences
  • Pill bottles or film canisters make excellent storage containers for seeds.
  • Seam rippers and thread nippers slip nicely into empty prescription pill containers or film canisters.
  • Firefighters were forced to retreat when they realised that the building contained acetylene canisters, gas bottles and diesel barrels.
1.1A cylinder of pressurized gas, typically one that explodes when thrown or fired from a gun: riot police fired tear-gas canisters into the crowd
More example sentences
  • Thus ambushed, the pickets were made to run a gauntlet of police firing teargas canisters and rubber bullets at close range.
  • Police fired tear gas canisters at the crowd, including the council workers' wives, many with babies strapped to their backs.
  • Riot police and soldiers fired canisters of tear gas at the protesters as they entered the parliament compound.
1.2 [mass noun] historical Small bullets packed in cases that fit the bore of a gun: another deadly volley of canister
More example sentences
  • The most common canon was called the Napoleon and used both grape shot and canister ammunition.
  • The introduction of the rifled musket in the 1850s with ranges greater than canister altered the role of field artillery.
  • I could run out of mine tomorrow; just like I suppose Buck ran out of his that previous night, one foot doing what years of canister and grape shot had not.


late 15th century (denoting a basket): from Latin canistrum, from Greek kanastron 'wicker basket', from kanna 'cane, reed' (see cane).

Definition of canister in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day notional
Pronunciation: ˈnəʊʃ(ə)n(ə)l
existing only in theory or as a suggestion…