Anything business comes up with as a requirement might be considered canonical to our domain model.

Is the word canonical used correctly and what does this sentence actually mean? I think the sentence could be rewritten as:

Anything business comes up with as a requirement might be considered [inherently] / [automatically] / [implied to be] part of our domain model.

Does that make sense?

Edit: this sentence comes from the software engineering domain, but it is possible mathematics might covers the same meaning.

Edit2: I think a "canonical domain model" is an IT concept, but then I'm still in unsure of the meaning of canonical here.

  • 2
    What do you think it means? Does your own intended meaning match that of its dictionary definition? If it's your own sentence, then what are you actually trying to express? (There is nothing obviously wrong with the word in that sentence. But, that aside, it's impossible to say if it's being used correctly without knowing what the intended purpose of the sentence is.) Commented Jan 29, 2019 at 20:10
  • @JasonBassford I updated my question. Commented Jan 29, 2019 at 20:25
  • 1
    It is used correctly, but doesnt really mean the same thing as your synonyms. I think "canonical" can be more thought of as "fundamental" or "necessary" though it has a particular usage in the context of knowledge. Commented Jan 29, 2019 at 21:13
  • 1
    Needs a lot of extra context (previous sentences/paragraph) to really check relevance. Right now it is just another word that grammatically fits but who knows about meaning.
    – Mitch
    Commented Jan 29, 2019 at 21:22
  • No, it is not..
    – Phil Sweet
    Commented Jan 29, 2019 at 21:38

1 Answer 1


"Canonical" implies that it is a part of some canon, i.e., an important or official doctrine or body of work, especially a religious one. Using "canonical" in this context seems to overstate the importance, permanence, and universality of what it is describing. A "canon" is something that is not changed easily or often.

From the context of the sentence, it seems like the word is meant to convey that "Anything business comes up with" is either important or automatic with respect to "our domain model".

  • 3
    This answer ignores the use of canonical in mathematics and similar formal systems; and I think the OP is more likely to be transferring it from those domains than from religion.
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Jan 29, 2019 at 21:37
  • @ColinFine Agreed. Personally, religion never enters my mind when using the word "canonical".
    – user91988
    Commented Jan 29, 2019 at 21:39
  • I mostly agree with this (assuming the use of the word is correct), except that what's key to the question is anything the business comes up with as a requirement. It's not just any old thing it comes up with. Commented Jan 29, 2019 at 22:15
  • To my ears, canonical in this context is pretentious and overblown. You can use it, sure, but your readers will either be thinking WTF or snickering.
    – user205876
    Commented Jan 30, 2019 at 6:31

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