Definition of canonize in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈkanəˌnīz/


[with object]
1(In the Roman Catholic Church) officially declare (a dead person) to be a saint: he was the last English saint to be canonized prior to the Reformation
More example sentences
  • Judaism does not canonize people as saints nor does it demand the performance of miracles from its heroes.
  • Eventually, because of her contributions, she was canonized as a saint by the church.
  • From soon after his death posthumous miracles had begun to be attributed to him, and he was officially canonised by Pope John XXII in 1320.
1.1Regard as being above reproach or of great significance: we have canonized freedom of speech as an absolute value overriding all others
More example sentences
  • By presenting the regime's ideology as the criterion for judgment he abolishes it as a subject for inquiry and awards it a moral and canonized status, which stands above any questioning or criticism.
  • Some history books have canonized people who have ravaged the rich and shared the treasure with the poor.
  • You are practically canonizing parents - saying that They Love You More Than Life Itself; They Have Your Best Interests At Heart; They Only Want What's Best For You.
1.2Accept into the literary or artistic canon: [as adjective]: a familiar, canonized writer
More example sentences
  • Ginsberg's poem, ‘Howl’, and Burrough's novel, Naked Lunch, have become cult classics, canonized in American literature by many critics.
  • Tupac Shakur is the hip-hop icon most frequently canonized in contemporary literature.
  • A seemingly contrite Welles rode this notoriety to Hollywood where, at the age of 24, he wrote, directed, and starred in Citizen Kane, which has become canonized as one of the greatest films ever made.
1.3Sanction by Church authority.
Example sentences
  • Although his version of the myth has become canonized, many of his details were inventions or alterations.
  • The contents of the New Testament were formalized by Athanasius of Alexandria in 367 CE, and finally canonized in 382 CE.
  • Scripture was vetted and canonized, and a creed adopted and reaffirmed against those who would challenge, alter, or undermine it.



Pronunciation: /kanənəˈzāSH(ə)n/
Example sentences
  • Pope John's canonization should help to illuminate the constants in his spiritual journey.
  • This campaign has caused dismay to many Catholic historians, especially in view of the fact that the canonization of a saint may be viewed as an authoritative, if not quasi-infallible, papal act.
  • From the moment of his death and canonization two years later, the saga of Francis of Assisi has been retold and reshaped.


Late Middle English: from late Latin canonizare 'admit as authoritative' (in medieval Latin 'admit to the list of recognized saints'), from Latin canon (see canon1).

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: can·on·ize

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