Definition of canvass in English:

canvass

verb

[with object]
  • 1Solicit votes from (electors or members)

    ‘in each ward, two workers canvassed some 2,000 voters’
    no object ‘he's canvassing for the Green Party’
    • ‘I recall an incident when I was canvassing for Labour in that general election campaign.’
    • ‘Rain, hail or shine there are households to be canvassed and votes to be won.’
    • ‘Older adults living with young voters who were canvassed also voted at significantly higher rates.’
    • ‘Last fall, I spent seven weeks in the suburbs of Madison, Wisconsin, canvassing undecided voters for John Kerry.’
    • ‘My friend had met Mr Dowd before when he had turned up at her doorstep canvassing for votes.’
    • ‘The move is to ensure that every member standing for re-election knows how to respond if they are quizzed by residents, while out canvassing for votes during the upcoming June elections.’
    • ‘Mr Smith said he picked up more than 20 complaints of thefts, vandalism, assault and criminal damage while he was out canvassing for votes before the recent elections.’
    • ‘The accident occurred near Ayle on the Westport-Partry road on Sunday morning last while the Senator was on his way to canvass votes in the South Mayo area.’
    • ‘We are going to be out there to canvass every vote and prove to people that we should be in there representing this part of the county.’
    • ‘As this summer's local elections are fast approaching it will not be too long before we are inundated with politicians canvassing for votes and informing the electorate of the issues they need to concern themselves with.’
    • ‘A party that behaved pretty much as if it did not need the Muslim vote is now actively canvassing it.’
    • ‘It is common to see politicians articulating issues to do with the youth and women during campaigns in an effort to canvass votes from these sections of society.’
    • ‘Disability strikes indiscriminately, even politicians aren't excepted, so please when they appear at your door canvassing for votes, ask what plans they have to bring the date forward.’
    • ‘When canvassing for the general election, Cllr Charlie Byrne found some local residents in the area didn't seem to know what was going on and others were not greatly concerned.’
    • ‘Our votes will be canvassed Monday and Tuesday of next week and the tabulations will be made at that time and our vote will be completed.’
    • ‘Certainly Denis Burke has, I guess you could say, made a concerted effort certainly in recent years and certainly recent month as far as canvassing the Indigenous vote.’
    • ‘He said that probable candidates were obviously canvassing for votes from affiliates.’
    • ‘The campaign, organised by Lechlade farmer Charles Mann, will involve canvassing voters on doorsteps, distributing leaflets and putting up Tory posters.’
    • ‘We left ourselves with two weeks to fight the election, the other parties have been out canvassing for five or six weeks.’
    • ‘He revealed that the party had made more than a million telephone calls canvassing voters in key seats and had sent free videos to target voters - topped and tailed with messages from the local MP.’
    campaign, electioneer, solicit votes, drum up support
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    1. 1.1 Try to obtain (support)
      ‘they're canvassing support among shareholders’
      • ‘He did not canvass any support but he hoped it would be carried and circulated to every other local authority in the country.’
      • ‘When she returns to work at Kingston's John Lewis department store on Monday when her maternity leave ends, she intends to canvass the support of her colleagues in the staff magazine.’
      • ‘I will also canvass the support of some organisations and labour movements.’
      • ‘Far more than other homeland leaders, he was able to canvass popular support as a vocal critic of some elements of apartheid up to the late 1970s.’
      • ‘OM's bid will expire at the end of October and in the interim period the management are expected to visit Ireland and Britain to canvass shareholders for their support.’
      seek, try to obtain, go after, make a pitch for
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    2. 1.2 Question (someone) in order to ascertain their opinion.
      ‘they promised to canvass all member clubs for their views’
      • ‘They have been conducting door-to-door inquiries and canvassing people in the area of the river and canal network.’
      • ‘Earlier this week, police canvassed patrons of a rural general store and a doughnut shop northwest of the city, where two calls were made to Cecilia's home from pay phones on the morning of her disappearance.’
      • ‘However, Shanghaiist must confess that when six female Shanghainese friends were canvassed regarding their interest in the programme, some had never heard of it, and only one had ever watched it.’
      • ‘After the body was found, teams of gardaí returned to canvass those people in the area around where Robert disappeared.’
      • ‘He felt Gazette readers should be canvassed for their views.’
      • ‘This is a curiously masochistic explanation and not one available to the restaurant in the Scottish parliament, that this week canvassed its customers as to why it was rubbish and nobody used it.’
      • ‘Perhaps your committee should canvass its members about what they want from the club, instead of assuming that they know.’
      • ‘Dawes has recently canvassed members of the New Zealand Society of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery for their opinion about whom to screen and how to screen when a vestibular schwannoma is suspected.’
      • ‘Nor have any residents been canvassed for their opinion.’
      • ‘PC Rhodes canvassed members of her family, as ordinary members of the public, before she decided to open the clinic.’
      • ‘Dr Hutchison said the division's approach to date had been to canvass local doctors and look at ways it could improve access to medical services in Geraldton for the benefit of the whole community.’
      • ‘The supermarkets are being canvassed for their views and I'm sure are heartily in favour of pocketing the change, but will still be glad of the captive market the vouchers assure them.’
      • ‘The association held two open days earlier this month as it canvassed residents on what sort of facilities they would like to see in their area.’
      • ‘The conference is also an opportunity to canvass young people's views on the council's new ‘Change for Children’ that will aim to give young people more of a say in the services they receive.’
      • ‘Retailers, mainly garages and newsagents, have already privately canvassed staff on whether they would be willing to work on the Sabbath.’
      • ‘Rotorua church leaders were also canvassed for their opinion, and all spoke of the need for workers to have time off, and for families to have time together, at times like Easter and Christmas.’
      • ‘It is already canvassing fans on whether the club should play without the company logo on its shirts or seek another sponsor.’
      • ‘The community was earlier canvassed for input to the proposal.’
      • ‘The organisation - which represents tourism operations throughout the county - canvassed its members over the last few weeks.’
      • ‘The Geraldton City Council will canvass its electors on a proposal to amend local burning by-laws.’
      poll, question, ask, survey, interview, sound out, ascertain the opinions of
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  • 2Propose (an idea or plan) for discussion.

    ‘early retirement was canvassed as a solution to the problem of unemployment’
    • ‘5.156 Various proposals were canvassed, including suggestions that sterilisation should be undertaken and that mixed marriages should be annulled by law.’
    • ‘The interaction of public and private law in Australia canvasses a range of proposals for reform to the child welfare system in Australia.’
    • ‘They were not referred to, from my rereading of the commentary, so I am surprised that the amendments he is proposing this evening have not been previously canvassed.’
    • ‘Among other options, it canvassed the idea of a reduced ‘core’ NHS, with patients able to pay extra for faster treatment and non-core services.’
    • ‘He says they've also canvassed the idea of posters and leaflets in waiting rooms warning that sexual relationships between doctors and patients are forbidden.’
    • ‘Only the Dutch and German governments were actively canvassing such changes.’
    • ‘By 1999, they were canvassing the idea quite openly.’
    • ‘While the DAA has not canvassed the idea of switching ownership to Failte Ireland, Gary McGann, its chairman, has made no secret of his desire to sell its interest in GSH.’
    • ‘Of the various proposals canvassed, a system of compulsory employer and employee contributions was consistently the most popular.’
    • ‘He has called rallies of Labour Party members, canvassing a boycott of parliament and suggesting continued international sanctions against the government.’
    • ‘At that stage a possible wording and draft legislation will be canvassed for approval and, if they attract sufficient support, the campaign will begin.’
    • ‘The Federal Opposition says most students would get a second-class education under plans canvassed by the Government's higher education review.’
    • ‘A healthy living co-ordinator will go to bingo sessions to canvass ideas for a £1 million healthy living centre in Allerton.’
    • ‘Scrapping their role is not being canvassed as a solution in America.’
    • ‘Many other writers have canvassed proposals for taxes and other sources of revenue to provide funds for compensation of the costs of environmental protection.’
    • ‘I think both Michael and I were pretty crushed by the oppressive response that the ideas canvassed in the Discussion paper received.’
    • ‘A wide range of mechanisms exists to monitor the effectiveness of the NHS, to highlight problems, and canvass solutions.’
    • ‘Now, under the cover of the Olympics, the Howard government has finally brought forward the type of legislation canvassed by Mark, Hope and Windeyer.’
    • ‘The following is an extract from an earlier magazine article in which he canvassed the central idea of this theology.’
    • ‘Lasting a week, it is both a serious meeting between Grimwade, Perkins, Hagan and their managers to discuss the next year's business plan and budgets, and a forum to canvass new ideas and directions.’
    propose, suggest, submit, offer, air
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    1. 2.1 Discuss thoroughly.
      ‘the issues that were canvassed are still unresolved’
      • ‘There is no evidence that he seriously coveted the papacy for himself, though the idea of setting him up as an anti-pope was briefly canvassed to resolve the royal marriage crisis.’
      • ‘I will not go into those in detail, as we canvassed them during the Committee stage of this debate.’
      • ‘Very simply, this matter has been extensively canvassed by the Education and Science Committee.’
      • ‘In the First Meditation Descartes canvasses beliefs of various kinds he had formerly held as true and finds himself forced to conclude that he ought to reject them, that he ought not to accept them as true.’
      • ‘This did not deter Fitzsimons from canvassing the possibility of the Greens formally entering government with Labour after the next elections - due later this year.’
      • ‘Several suggestions as to its nature were put forward, and several plans of action were canvassed.’
      • ‘Changes to the proposals may be considered after the arguments have been fully canvassed by the select committee.’
      • ‘We would be happy to canvass any reasonable suggestions for their improvement.’
      • ‘The Government has been canvassing a range of options to encourage parents to pay off child support debts.’
      • ‘Now, I don't propose to canvass the arguments of counsel.’
      • ‘The review has already commenced, and we in New Zealand First prefer to see this issue more thoroughly and clearly canvassed in the review.’
      • ‘These issues are thoroughly canvassed in the Research Agenda and Background Report.’
      • ‘In this way the history of art since 1900 is thoroughly canvassed, and when one scans the contents page the mouth waters.’
      • ‘Many of the reasons why this bill is being promoted have been canvassed in the debate already, and I do not intend to repeat them.’
      • ‘The first thing that Lopez suggested was that Reid should hold a series of lunch-time meetings and canvass the idea directly with the employees themselves before taking it any further.’
      • ‘That takes us back to many arguments that were already canvassed during the early select committee process on the previous bill, which I naively thought had been resolved.’
      • ‘For this, I'd like to thoroughly canvass the various arguments why bloggers should not get such equal treatment.’
      • ‘I expect that many people will make submissions to the committee, and this will enable the matters addressed in the bill to be thoroughly canvassed.’
      • ‘One of the scenarios presently being canvassed is the possibility of a rapid decline in the value of the US dollar.’
      • ‘John Poynter's rich history of Alfred Felton's life and times is a large illustrated book which also canvasses the many debates around the bequest.’
      propose, suggest, submit, offer, air
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noun

  • An act of canvassing.

    ‘a house-to-house canvass’
    • ‘He owed his success largely to the votes of the Anglican clergy, who came in droves to support him, but his ‘colloquial facility’ was an asset in his canvass of the residents.’
    • ‘What, Michael wondered, would the voters of Kerry make of it if he was to enlist the services of the delightful duo to help with the canvass during the 2004 local elections?’
    • ‘On the canvass last week, McDowell was questioned repeatedly by one Ranelagh resident about his party's post-election intentions.’
    • ‘First time Fianna Fail candidate Michael McNamara from Achill is understood to be the first candidate to launch an official canvass in preparation for next June's elections.’
    • ‘Several local issues were discussed including the long awaited sewage scheme which had been promised by Fianna Fail on their canvass before the last General Election.’
    • ‘So how was the canvass going, asked one admirer.’
    • ‘Expressing delight with the Law Society nomination, Mr. Crowley said he was looking forward with enthusiasm to the nationwide canvass over the coming weeks.’
    • ‘Many people have raised the ban on smoking in public houses with me during my election canvass.’
    • ‘Such findings on the canvass were what kept me going.’
    • ‘He has already conducted an extensive canvass of the Killarney area and he has been concentrating his efforts on the Fossa area during the past week.’
    • ‘An intensive canvass of all interest groups will also take place, including the churches, the Pro-Life Campaign, the Right to Choose campaign and other organisations.’
    • ‘However, this view has yet to be demonstrated, so we have not counted those species in our canvass.’
    • ‘The only recurring mechanical problem uncovered in my informal canvass of enthusiasts was mainspring breakage.’
    • ‘The finding will come as a disappointment to Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, who a week ago chose Tralee to start his nationwide canvass.’
    • ‘Sometime during the years that followed, a canvass was taken by specialists in economics that showed there were about 350 economic journals in the world.’
    • ‘West's particularly weak performance, which reflected his marked disinclination to pursue an active canvass, led to his resignation as leader of the UUP.’
    • ‘In a canvass of villagers by The Baildon Futures Partnership, which is producing an action plan, 47 per cent of the people who responded cited traffic congestion, volume and speed as a major concern.’
    • ‘Both candidates were putting in an intense canvass in north Cork over the past two days.’
    • ‘Just a few hundred yards away, however, Bob and Roseanne, a middle-aged couple who declined to give their surnames, were about to start a door-to-door canvass for the president.’
    • ‘At election times on the canvass, her warmth and good nature struck a chord with most who met her.’

Origin

Early 16th century (in the sense ‘toss in a canvas sheet’ (as a sport or punishment)): from canvas. Later extended senses include ‘criticize, discuss’ (mid 16th century) and ‘propose for discussion’; hence ‘seek support for’.

Pronunciation

canvass

/ˈkanvəs/