• synonyms


[kan-vuh s]
  1. a closely woven, heavy cloth of cotton, hemp, or linen, used for tents, sails, etc.
  2. a piece of this or similar material on which a painting is made.
  3. a painting on canvas.
  4. a tent, or tents collectively.
  5. sailcloth.
  6. sails collectively.
  7. any fabric of linen, cotton, or hemp of a coarse loose weave used as a foundation for embroidery stitches, interlining, etc.
  8. the floor of a boxing ring traditionally consisting of a canvas covering stretched over a mat.
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  1. (initial capital letter) the brand name of an open-source learning management system, launched in 2011.
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  1. under canvas,
    1. Nautical.with set sails.
    2. in tents; in the field: the troops under canvas.
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Origin of canvas

1225–75; Middle English canevas < Anglo-French, Old North French < Vulgar Latin *cannabāceus (noun use of adj.), equivalent to Latin cannab(is) hemp + -āceus -aceous
Related formscan·vas·like, adjective
Can be confusedcanvas canvass
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for canvases

tarpaulin, tarp, picture, art, portrait, piece, watercolor, artwork, fly, shade, duck, sailcloth, tenting, oil

Examples from the Web for canvases

Contemporary Examples of canvases

Historical Examples of canvases

  • There were stacks of canvases on the floor and on all the chairs.

    Olive in Italy

    Moray Dalton

  • She insisted that it was part of the bargain that she should supply Cornelia's canvases.

    The Coast of Bohemia

    William Dean Howells

  • When he had enough money to buy paints and canvases he left me.

    The Moon and Sixpence

    W. Somerset Maugham

  • But if they fail as stories they are unexceptionable as canvases.

    Views and Reviews

    William Ernest Henley

  • He impressed himself on his canvases in spite of his so faulty expression.

    Adventures in the Arts

    Marsden Hartley

British Dictionary definitions for canvases


    1. a heavy durable cloth made of cotton, hemp, or jute, used for sails, tents, etc
    2. (as modifier)a canvas bag
    1. a piece of canvas or a similar material on which a painting is done, usually in oils
    2. a painting on this material, esp in oils
  1. a tent or tents collectively
  2. nautical any cloth of which sails are made
  3. nautical the sails of a vessel collectively
  4. any coarse loosely woven cloth on which embroidery, tapestry, etc, is done
  5. the canvas the floor of a boxing or wrestling ring
  6. rowing the tapering covered part at either end of a racing boat, sometimes referred to as a unit of lengthto win by a canvas
  7. under canvas
    1. in tents
    2. nauticalwith sails unfurled
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Word Origin for canvas

C14: from Norman French canevas, ultimately from Latin cannabis hemp
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 canvases



"sturdy cloth made from hemp or flax," mid-14c., from Anglo-French canevaz, Old North French canevach, Old French chanevaz, literally "made of hemp, hempen," noun use of Vulgar Latin adjective *cannapaceus "made of hemp," from Latin cannabis, from Greek kannabis "hemp," a Scythian or Thracian word (see cannabis).

Latin adjectives in -aceus sometimes were made in Romanic languages into nouns of augmentative or pejorative force. Especially as a surface for oil paintings from c.1700; hence "an oil painting" (1764).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper