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Rideaucanal1 2.jpg


Middle English, from Latin canalis pipe, channel, from canna reed


  • 1 : a tubular anatomical passage or channel : duct
  • 2 : channel, watercourse
  • 3 : an artificial waterway for navigation or for draining or irrigating land
  • 4 : any of various faint narrow lines on the planet Mars seen through telescopes and once thought by some to be canals built by Martians


Canals are human-made channels for water. There are two types of canal:

  • 1. Aqueduct (or water conveyance) canals that are used for the conveyance and delivery of fresh water, for human consumption, agriculture, etc.
  • 2. Waterway canals that are navigable transportation canals used for carrying ships and boats loaded with goods and people, often connected to existing lakes, rivers, or oceans.

The word "canal" is also used for a city-canal in cities such as Venice (canal grande), Amsterdam (gracht) or Bangkok.