• synonyms


[kan-vuh s-bak]
noun, plural can·vas·backs, (especially collectively) can·vas·back.
  1. a North American wild duck, Aythya valisineria, the male of which has a whitish back and a reddish-brown head and neck.
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Origin of canvasback

An Americanism dating back to 1595–1605; after the canvaslike color of its back
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for canvas-back

Historical Examples

  • When canvas-back ducks are on the table conversation is not required of any one.

    A House-Boat on the Styx

    John Kendrick Bangs

  • The widgeon is but a poor diver, while the canvas-back is one of the very best.

  • Like most of the water-birds of America, the canvas-back is migratory.

  • Some pronounce its flesh equal if not superior to that of the canvas-back duck.

  • Yes, its flesh is very delicious, almost as good as the Canvas-back.

British Dictionary definitions for canvas-back


noun plural -backs or -back
  1. a North American diving duck, Aythyra valisineria, the male of which has a white body and reddish-brown head
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Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for canvas-back


also canvasback, 1785 as a type of North American duck. Earlier as an adjective for a type of garment made of expensive stuff in front and cheap canvas in the back (c.1600); from canvas (n.) + back (n.).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper