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I'm in doubt if this is the correct usage of the word canalized:

In the US a researching team found that pure entertainment, such as TV series or movies, have a great impact which can also be canalized towards educational needs.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

It is correct figurative usage; Merriam-Webster’s definitions include “to direct into preferred channels”, and their sample usage is quite similar to your example:

The director of the charity should be canalizing the flow of donations so that the money ends up where it is most needed.

On the other hand, it sounds quite stilted to my ear; channelled would seem completely equivalent, and is much more commonly used. Obligatory (but quite interesting) Google Ngrams search:

Google Ngrams chart for channelled/canalized into/towards

Perhaps canalize is more common as a piece of jargon, or possibly as a technical term, within some business or charity communities, with subtly different connotations from channel?

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Why do you doubt it?

canalize |ˈkanəlˌīz| verb [ trans. ] convert (a river) into a navigable canal. • convey (something) through a duct or channel. • figurative give a direction or purpose to (something) : his strategy was to canalize the enthusiasm of the diehards into party channels.

The usage you cite is figurative, describing the channeling of an already existing force into a beneficial usage of some kind.

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I'd doubt it too. It sounds awful. But there you have it. –  KitFox May 21 '11 at 11:35
    
@Kit: Of course it's awful, but that isn't the point. The question was whether it's correct, which I construe to mean legitimate. And it is legitimate. –  Robusto May 21 '11 at 11:38
    
I suppose OP's whole point is that an impact is not a force, it's the end result of a force. You can give direction to a meteorite that's still moving, but not to a crater that's already there. –  RegDwigнt May 21 '11 at 12:00
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Canalized has a very technical usage in evolutionary biology; I certainly wasn't aware it had an ordinary definition, that is easily gleaned from the word's morphology, myself. There, it means something like the state of having many different genotypes that produce the same phenotype. I'm actually fairly at a loss to see how the ordinary definition relates to the technical one. –  Uticensis May 21 '11 at 12:04
    
I should have stated it in the question, but I was also wandering about if it sounded good. Thanks for the answer. –  benregn May 21 '11 at 12:34

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