canvass

[ kan-vuhs ]
/ ˈkæn vəs /

verb (used with object)

to solicit votes, subscriptions, opinions, or the like from.
to examine carefully; investigate by inquiry; discuss; debate.

verb (used without object)

to solicit votes, opinions, or the like.

noun

a soliciting of votes, orders, or the like.
a campaign for election to government office.
close inspection; scrutiny.

Origin of canvass

1500–10; orig. spelling variant of canvas, as a v.; sense “discuss” apparently development of the earlier senses “toss in a canvas sheet,” “harshly criticize”; sense “solicit votes” obscurely derived
Related forms
Can be confusedcanvas canvass
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for canvass

British Dictionary definitions for canvass

canvass

/ (ˈkænvəs) /

verb

to solicit votes, orders, advertising, etc, from
to determine the feelings and opinions of (voters before an election, etc), esp by conducting a survey
to investigate (something) thoroughly, esp by discussion or debate
mainly US to inspect (votes) officially to determine their validity

noun

a solicitation of opinions, votes, sales orders, etc
close inspection; scrutiny
Derived Formscanvasser, nouncanvassing, noun

Word Origin for canvass

C16: probably from obsolete sense of canvas (to toss someone in a canvas sheet, hence, to harass, criticize); the development of current senses is unexplained
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 canvass

canvass


v.

c.1500, from alternative spelling of canvas (n.) and probably meaning, originally, "to toss or sift in a canvas sheet," hence "to shake out, examine carefully" (1520s); "to solicit votes" (1550s). The spelling with a double -s- dates from 16c. Cf. Old French canabasser "to examine carefully," literally "to sift through canvas." Related: Canvassed; canvassing. As a noun related to this, attested from c.1600.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper