from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To examine carefully or discuss thoroughly; scrutinize.
  • intransitive verb To go through (a region) or go to (persons) to solicit votes or orders.
  • intransitive verb To conduct a survey of (public opinion); poll.
  • intransitive verb To make a thorough examination or conduct a detailed discussion.
  • intransitive verb To solicit voters, orders, or opinions.
  • noun An examination or discussion.
  • noun A solicitation of votes or orders.
  • noun A survey of public opinion.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To examine; scrutinize.
  • Specifically
  • To sift or examine by way of discussion; discuss; debate.
  • To sift or investigate by inquiry; examine as to opinions, desires, or intentions; apply to or address for the purpose of influencing action, or of ascertaining a probable result: as, to canvass the people of a city with reference to an approaching election, for the promotion of a public undertaking, or the like.
  • To traverse for the purpose of inquiry or solicitation; apply to or address the inhabitants of with reference to prospective action: as, to canvass a district for votes, for subscriptions, etc.
  • To shake; take to task. See canvas, transitive verb, 2.
  • To solicit or go about soliciting votes, interest, orders, subscriptions, or the like: followed by for: as, to canvass for an office or preferment; to canvass for a friend; to canvass for a mercantile firm.
  • noun Examination; close inspection; scrutiny: as, a canvass of votes. Specifically
  • noun An examination or scrutiny of a body of men, in order to ascertain their opinions or their intentions, especially whether they will vote for or against a given measure or candidate; an estimate of the number of votes cast or to be cast for or against a candidate or bill: as, a canvass of the legislature disclosed a majority of six in favor of the measure.
  • noun A seeking; solicitation; specifically, systematic solicitation for the votes and support of a district or of individuals by a candidate for office or by his friends.
  • noun Discussion; debate.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb To search thoroughly; to engage in solicitation by traversing a district; ; -- commonly followed by for.
  • noun Close inspection; careful review for verification.
  • noun Examination in the way of discussion or debate.
  • noun Search; exploration; solicitation; systematic effort to obtain votes, subscribers, etc.
  • transitive verb To sift; to strain; to examine thoroughly; to scrutinize.
  • transitive verb To examine by discussion; to debate.
  • transitive verb To go through, with personal solicitation or public addresses.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A solicitation of voters or public opinion.
  • verb To solicit voters or opinions.
  • verb To conduct a survey.
  • verb To campaign.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a heavy, closely woven fabric (used for clothing or chairs or sails or tents)
  • noun the setting for a narrative or fictional or dramatic account
  • verb get the opinions (of people) by asking specific questions
  • noun a large piece of fabric (usually canvas fabric) by means of which wind is used to propel a sailing vessel
  • noun an inquiry into public opinion conducted by interviewing a random sample of people
  • verb consider in detail and subject to an analysis in order to discover essential features or meaning
  • verb solicit votes from potential voters in an electoral campaign
  • noun a tent made of canvas fabric
  • noun an oil painting on canvas fabric
  • noun the mat that forms the floor of the ring in which boxers or professional wrestlers compete


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[From obsolete canvass, to toss in a canvas sheet as punishment, from canvas.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From canvas, originally meaning "to toss in a canvas sheet". First attested 1508


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