[ kan-vuhs ]
See synonyms for canvas on
  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.

  1. a painting on canvas.

  2. a tent, or tents collectively.

  3. sails collectively.

  4. any fabric of linen, cotton, or hemp of a coarse loose weave used as a foundation for embroidery stitches, interlining, etc.

  5. the floor of a boxing ring traditionally consisting of a canvas covering stretched over a mat.

Trademark, Digital Technology.
  1. Canvas, the brand name for an open-source learning management system, launched in 2011.

Idioms about canvas

  1. under canvas,

    • Nautical. with set sails.

    • in tents; in the field: the troops under canvas.

Origin of canvas

First recorded in 1225–75; Middle English canevas, from Anglo-French, Old North French, from unattested Vulgar Latin cannabāceus (noun use of adjective), equivalent to Latin cannab(is) + -āceus; see origin at hemp, -aceous

Other words from canvas

  • can·vas·like, adjective

Words that may be confused with canvas Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use canvas in a sentence

  • He went over to the canvases which he had discarded so fiercely, chose the one Inga had preferred, and placed it on the easel.

    The Woman Gives | Owen Johnson
  • He came to her side and viewed the canvases, trying to see them with her eyes, to feel a glimmer of her enthusiasm.

    The Woman Gives | Owen Johnson
  • Bunglers will not mend matters by blackening the great canvases they can't paint on, nor the impotent become males by detraction.

  • Out of the corner she began to pull the canvases set in rough, wooden frames, dragging them with all her strength.

  • There was not much taking of canvases into the open air in the days of De Loutherbourg.

    Art in England | Dutton Cook

British Dictionary definitions for canvas


/ (ˈkænvəs) /

    • a heavy durable cloth made of cotton, hemp, or jute, used for sails, tents, etc

    • (as modifier): a canvas bag

    • a piece of canvas or a similar material on which a painting is done, usually in oils

    • 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 length: to win by a canvas

  7. under canvas

    • in tents

    • nautical with sails unfurled

Origin of 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