1. A pistol or revolver. 2. A jail, a safe, or a container of any kind made of metal. 3. The buttocks.

- american underworld dictionary - 1950
A canister round, fired from a cannon, was a thin-walled metal cylinder packed with musket balls and sawdust. Some canister rounds that have been found were packed with nails, pieces of hinges, and other scrap metal. A wooden block, or "sabot," was attached to the bottom of the canister, helping to keep the round in the middle of the bore and preventing the explosion gases from shooting out around the sides. Attached to the bottom of the sabot was the cloth bag that contained the propellant powder that set off the round. When the powder was set off, the force of the explosion would disrupt the can and the shot would spray out of the muzzle with murderous effect.

Canister rounds were the smoothbore cannon's most lethal load and, in their time (late 18th through 19th centuries), probably killed more soldiers than all other types of artillery rounds combined. Canister was effective only at short range, - 600 yards or less - but, like the blast from a giant sawed-off shotgun, the mass of the slugs from the round would spread out and decimate anything downrange. When the enemy was within 150 yards, soldiers would load the guns with two or even three rounds of canister and fire them off at one time.

Can"is*ter (?), n. [L. canistrum a basket woven from reeds Gr. , fr. , reed; cf. F. canistre. See Cane, and Canaster.]


A small basket of rushes, or wilow twigs, etc.


A small box or case for holding tea, coffee, etc.

3. Mil.

A kind of case shot for cannon, in which a number of lead or iron balls in layers are inclosed in a case fitting the gun; -- called also canister shot,


© Webster 1913.

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