A vintage map of the Panama Canal.Licensed from iStockPhoto
Webster's New World College Dictionary Copyright © 2010 by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Cleveland, Ohio.
ship canal across the Isthmus of Panama, connecting the Caribbean Sea (hence, Atlantic Ocean) and the Pacific Ocean: c. 50.7 mi (82 km) long
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th edition Copyright © 2010 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
A ship canal, about 82 km (51 mi) long, crossing the Isthmus of Panama in the Canal Zone and connecting the Caribbean Sea with the Pacific Ocean. It was begun by the French in 1881, but the project was abandoned in 1889. The United States gained construction rights after Panama declared its independence in 1903, and the canal was opened to traffic on August 15, 1914. A 1977 treaty stipulated that the Panamanians gained full rights of sovereignty over the canal on December 31, 1999.
Panama Canal - Cultural Definition
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy Copyright © 2010 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
- Conflict between the United States and Panama has centered on control of the canal; a treaty was signed in 1977 returning control of the Canal Zone to Panama in 2000. Since that time, Panama has agreed to neutral operation of the canal.