from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A usually cylindrical storage container, especially.
  • noun A box or can of thin metal or plastic used for holding dry foodstuffs or cooking ingredients, such as flour or sugar.
  • noun A small plastic container used for storing a roll of film.
  • noun A metal container that holds pressurized gas, as one containing tear gas that explodes on impact or one containing oxygen as part of a breathing apparatus.
  • noun A metallic cylinder packed with shot that scatter upon discharge from a cannon, formerly used as an antipersonnel round.
  • noun Such cylinders, or the shot used in such cylinders, considered as a group.
  • noun The part of a gas mask that contains the filter for removing toxic agents from the air.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Properly, a small basket made of reeds, twigs, or the like.
  • noun A small box or case for tea, coffee, etc.
  • noun In the Roman Catholic Church, the metallic vessel used to contain the altar-breads or wafers before consecration. See altar-bread.
  • noun Canister-shot.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A small basket of rushes, reeds, or willow twigs, etc.
  • noun A small box or case for holding tea, coffee, etc.
  • noun (Mil.) A kind of case shot for cannon, in which a number of lead or iron balls in layers are inclosed in a case fitting the gun; -- called also canister shot.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A cylindrical or rectangular container usually of lightweight metal, plastic, or laminated pasteboard used for holding a dry product (as tea, crackers, flour, matches).
  • noun Any of various cylindrical metal receptacles usually with a removable close-fitting top.
  • noun A special short range antipersonnel projectile consisting of a casing of light metal, loaded with preformed submissiles such as flechettes or steel balls. The casing is designed to open just beyond the muzzle of the weapon, dispersing the submissiles.
  • noun A component of canister type protective mask containing a mechanical filter and chemical filling to filter, neutralize and/or absorb toxic chemical, biological and radiological agents.
  • noun A projectile component containing colored or screening smoke or riot control agent composition.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a metallic cylinder packed with shot and used as ammunition in a firearm
  • noun metal container for storing dry foods such as tea or flour


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Latin canistrum, basket, from Greek kanastron, from kanna, reed; see cane.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Latin canistrum


  • Once the canister is frozen, it's attached to the PacoJet, which then works its magic.

    The $4,000 Ice Cream Maker

  • Once the canister is frozen, it's attached to the PacoJet, which then works its magic.

    The $4,000 Ice Cream Maker

  • In the event of a charge, it isn't necessary to withdraw the canister from the holster before using it.

    Use Pepper Spray Instead of Guns to Stop a Charging Grizzly

  • New to town, and acting as a deputy, the enigmatic Robert Hawkins arrived with a tin canister in a giant white moving truck.

    Amrie’s Take on TV: A Guide to JERICHO | the TV addict

  • She opened a tin canister and picked out two lumps of brown stuff that looked like sand – about the size and shape of prunes they were.

    The House of Arden

  • This hand-charge is a tin canister containing four pounds of gun-cotton, to which one end of a long instantaneous fuse is attached, the other end being fixed into the muzzle of a small pistol.

    Three Months in the Soudan

  • When required to be used, the canister is thrown amongst the enemy, and exploded at will by firing off the pistol.

    Three Months in the Soudan

  • As soon as they were seen they were met with deadly volleys of musketry, grape, and canister from the Southern defences.

    Foreign and Colonial Intelligence

  • Nobody said a word about partridges; but it was remarkable that from each carriage that arrived there was taken a long mahogany case, followed by a tin canister and a powder flask; and that each new-comer, in the course of the first evening, invariably asked if the harvest were well in, and if the birds were tolerably strong and numerous.

    The Semi-Attached Couple

  • No sooner did the nearest brig open her fire, and that within short canister range, than the ship and her consort hauled in again on the southern flank of the battery, the smallest vessel leading, and feeling her way with the lead.

    The Crater


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  • Canister? I hardly knew 'er!

    February 8, 2009