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Originally (in the Roman Catholic Church), a member of certain orders of clergy that live communally according to an ecclesiastical rule in the same way as monks (also as canon regular or regular canon).

Later (from the mid 16th century), a member of the clergy who is on the staff of a cathedral, especially one who is a member of the chapter. The position is frequently conferred as an honorary one.

The word is recorded from Middle English and comes via Old French from Latin canonicus ‘according to rule’, ultimately from the base of canon1.

Subjects: Religion

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