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canvass

[kan-vuh s] /ˈkæn vəs/
verb (used with object)
1.
to solicit votes, subscriptions, opinions, or the like from.
2.
to examine carefully; investigate by inquiry; discuss; debate.
verb (used without object)
3.
to solicit votes, opinions, or the like.
noun
4.
a soliciting of votes, orders, or the like.
5.
a campaign for election to government office.
6.
close inspection; scrutiny.
Origin
1500-1510
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
canvasser, noun
precanvass, verb (used with object), noun
uncanvassed, adjective
undercanvass, verb
well-canvassed, adjective
Can be confused
canvas, canvass.
Synonyms
2. analyze, scrutinize, explore.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for canvass

canvass

/ˈkænvəs/
verb
1.
to solicit votes, orders, advertising, etc, from
2.
to determine the feelings and opinions of (voters before an election, etc), esp by conducting a survey
3.
to investigate (something) thoroughly, esp by discussion or debate
4.
(mainly US) to inspect (votes) officially to determine their validity
noun
5.
a solicitation of opinions, votes, sales orders, etc
6.
close inspection; scrutiny
Derived Forms
canvasser, noun
canvassing, noun
Word Origin
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
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Word Origin and History for 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
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