Canon vs Cannon: What’s the Difference?

Many people confuse the words “canon” and “cannon” because both share the same pronunciation. However, these homophones have different meanings. “Cannon” is a weapon, whereas “canon” is a doctrine or collection of writings. 

Continue reading this article to discover more about canon vs. cannon. 

What Is Canon

Canon is a noun with several meanings. Its most common definition is a group of laws or texts considered definitive. In religion, it can also mean a church doctrine.

Canon can also refer to a group of exemplary literary works in literature. Movie fans or fandoms also use the word “canon” to describe something official or true to the story. 

In summary, the word canon has the following meanings

  • A collection of writings or works of a writer 
  • A reputable principle
  • A religious law or doctrine established by a church governing body. 
  • Biblical books that are within the Holy Scripture
  • Source material

Examples:

  1. The New Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition (NRSV-CE), is the canon of the Catholic Church.
  2. Shakespeare and Chaucer are great contributors to the canon of Western literature, often taught in English class.
  3. The immigrant’s code of conduct breached the country’s canons of plenary power and immigration laws.
  4. How many canons are in the Old Testament?
  5. She had her ’80s trivia down cold, not just the canon stuff.
  6. The lawyers argued the rules outlined in the Code of Canon Law. 
  7. The canon law dictates that exorcisms should only be performed by a priest. 

What Is Cannon

A cannon is a giant gun or weapon that can fire powerful projectiles. Other usages include when referring to a tube-shaped device to launch and increase the speed of an object thrown. One perfect example is a t-shirt cannon often used in sports events.  

Even though cannon is commonly used as a noun, it can function as a verb in a few circumstances.

Fun Fact: The word “cannon” can be an uncountable noun. This means the word cannon can sometimes be plural in itself. 

Examples:

  1. The US Navy used cannons to thwart threats from their enemy during the last War II.
  2. Among these toe trotters’ limb-lengthening and speed-enhancing adaptations is their cannon bone, derived from its tube-like structure.
  3. The Navy vowed they should continue to cannon (verb) any terror group to destabilize them.
  4. Snooker players with cannon-like arms have an added advantage over their opponents since they can release the ball with much force.
  5. The troops only take cannons and other artifacts out for special ceremonies. 
  6. Pirates load up a cannon with gunpowder, a fuse, and a cannonball. 

What Is the Difference Between Canon and Cannon?

photo showing the difference of canon vs cannon

The significant difference between the two homophones is the spelling; whereas canon has the single consonant “n,” cannon has the double consonant “nn.” 

Another difference between the two words is their meanings. Cannon is artillery or weapon. On the other hand, “canon” is a rule, law, or doctrine. So, instead of saying “cannon of ethics,” you should use the word “canon” of ethics when presenting your arguments in writing. 

You should also remember that only the word cannon can serve both as a noun and a verb.

Fun Fact: Some people use the phrase “loose cannon” to describe an uncontrollable person. 

The Trick to Remembering the Difference

One of the best ways to avoid confusing the words canon vs. cannon is to master their meanings. 

When referring to a large artillery gun, you should use the word “cannon.” Any time you want to refer to something as an established law or doctrine of the Roman Catholic church, use the word “canon.”

Another thing to remember is that the plural form of the word “cannon” can be “cannon” or “cannons.” But with “canon,” you should only use “canons” for the plural form. 

Summary

Canon and cannon are homophones. However, they don’t share the same meaning. A “canon” is primarily a collection of writings. On the other hand, the word “cannon” refers to a weapon or heavy gan that can throw heavy projectiles.


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