1. an artificial waterway for navigation, irrigation, etc.
  2. a long narrow arm of the sea penetrating far inland.
  3. a tubular passage or cavity for food, air, etc., especially in an animal or plant; a duct.
  4. channel; watercourse.
  5. Astronomy. one of the long, narrow, dark lines on the surface of the planet Mars, as seen telescopically from the earth.

verb (used with object), ca·nalled or ca·naled, ca·nal·ling or ca·nal·ing.

  1. to make a canal through.


  1. an artificial waterway constructed for navigation, irrigation, water power, etc
  2. any of various tubular passages or ductsthe alimentary canal
  3. any of various elongated intercellular spaces in plants
  4. astronomy any of the indistinct surface features of Mars originally thought to be a network of channels but not seen on close-range photographs. They are caused by an optical illusion in which faint geological features appear to have a geometric structure

verb -nals, -nalling or -nalled or US -nals, -naling or -naled (tr)

  1. to dig a canal through
  2. to provide with a canal or canals

early 15c., from French canal, chanel “water channel, tube, pipe, gutter” (12c.), from Latin canalis “water pipe, groove, channel,” noun use of adjective from canna “reed” (see cane). Originally in English “a pipe for liquid,” its sense transferred by 1670s to “artificial waterway.”


  1. A duct, a channel, or a tubular structure.

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