[ 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.


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 confused

canvas canvass Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for canvassed

British Dictionary definitions for canvassed


/ (ˈkænvəs) /


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


a solicitation of opinions, votes, sales orders, etc
close inspection; scrutiny

Derived Forms

canvasser, 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