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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘My friend had met Mr Dowd before when he had turned up at her doorstep canvassing for votes.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Last fall, I spent seven weeks in the suburbs of Madison, Wisconsin, canvassing undecided voters for John Kerry.’
    • ‘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 left ourselves with two weeks to fight the election, the other parties have been out canvassing for five or six weeks.’
    • ‘A party that behaved pretty much as if it did not need the Muslim vote is now actively canvassing it.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The campaign, organised by Lechlade farmer Charles Mann, will involve canvassing voters on doorsteps, distributing leaflets and putting up Tory posters.’
    • ‘He said that probable candidates were obviously canvassing for votes from affiliates.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I recall an incident when I was canvassing for Labour in that general election campaign.’
    • ‘Older adults living with young voters who were canvassed also voted at significantly higher rates.’
    • ‘Rain, hail or shine there are households to be canvassed and votes to be won.’
    • ‘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.’
    campaign, electioneer, solicit votes, drum up support
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    1. 1.1 Try to obtain (support)
      ‘they're canvassing support among shareholders’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He did not canvass any support but he hoped it would be carried and circulated to every other local authority in the country.’
      • ‘I will also canvass the support of some organisations and labour movements.’
      • ‘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.’
      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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Perhaps your committee should canvass its members about what they want from the club, instead of assuming that they know.’
      • ‘The organisation - which represents tourism operations throughout the county - canvassed its members over the last few weeks.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The community was earlier canvassed for input to the proposal.’
      • ‘After the body was found, teams of gardaí returned to canvass those people in the area around where Robert disappeared.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It is already canvassing fans on whether the club should play without the company logo on its shirts or seek another sponsor.’
      • ‘PC Rhodes canvassed members of her family, as ordinary members of the public, before she decided to open the clinic.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He felt Gazette readers should be canvassed for their views.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The Geraldton City Council will canvass its electors on a proposal to amend local burning by-laws.’
      • ‘Retailers, mainly garages and newsagents, have already privately canvassed staff on whether they would be willing to work on the Sabbath.’
      • ‘They have been conducting door-to-door inquiries and canvassing people in the area of the river and canal network.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Nor have any residents been canvassed for their opinion.’
      • ‘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.’
      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’
    • ‘A healthy living co-ordinator will go to bingo sessions to canvass ideas for a £1 million healthy living centre in Allerton.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The interaction of public and private law in Australia canvasses a range of proposals for reform to the child welfare system in Australia.’
    • ‘The Federal Opposition says most students would get a second-class education under plans canvassed by the Government's higher education review.’
    • ‘Only the Dutch and German governments were actively canvassing such changes.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘5.156 Various proposals were canvassed, including suggestions that sterilisation should be undertaken and that mixed marriages should be annulled by law.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Many other writers have canvassed proposals for taxes and other sources of revenue to provide funds for compensation of the costs of environmental protection.’
    • ‘The following is an extract from an earlier magazine article in which he canvassed the central idea of this theology.’
    • ‘I think both Michael and I were pretty crushed by the oppressive response that the ideas canvassed in the Discussion paper received.’
    • ‘He has called rallies of Labour Party members, canvassing a boycott of parliament and suggesting continued international sanctions against the government.’
    • ‘Of the various proposals canvassed, a system of compulsory employer and employee contributions was consistently the most popular.’
    • ‘By 1999, they were canvassing the idea quite openly.’
    • ‘At that stage a possible wording and draft legislation will be canvassed for approval and, if they attract sufficient support, the campaign will begin.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Scrapping their role is not being canvassed as a solution in America.’
    • ‘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.’
    propose, suggest, submit, offer, air
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    1. 2.1 Discuss thoroughly.
      ‘the issues that were canvassed are still unresolved’
      • ‘For this, I'd like to thoroughly canvass the various arguments why bloggers should not get such equal treatment.’
      • ‘Several suggestions as to its nature were put forward, and several plans of action were canvassed.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I will not go into those in detail, as we canvassed them during the Committee stage of this debate.’
      • ‘The review has already commenced, and we in New Zealand First prefer to see this issue more thoroughly and clearly canvassed in the review.’
      • ‘Changes to the proposals may be considered after the arguments have been fully canvassed by the select committee.’
      • ‘The Government has been canvassing a range of options to encourage parents to pay off child support debts.’
      • ‘These issues are thoroughly canvassed in the Research Agenda and Background Report.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Now, I don't propose to canvass the arguments of counsel.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We would be happy to canvass any reasonable suggestions for their improvement.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In this way the history of art since 1900 is thoroughly canvassed, and when one scans the contents page the mouth waters.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Very simply, this matter has been extensively canvassed by the Education and Science Committee.’
      propose, suggest, submit, offer, air
      View synonyms

noun

  • An act of canvassing.

    ‘a house-to-house canvass’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The finding will come as a disappointment to Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, who a week ago chose Tralee to start his nationwide canvass.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The only recurring mechanical problem uncovered in my informal canvass of enthusiasts was mainspring breakage.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Many people have raised the ban on smoking in public houses with me during my election 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.’
    • ‘However, this view has yet to be demonstrated, so we have not counted those species in our canvass.’
    • ‘Expressing delight with the Law Society nomination, Mr. Crowley said he was looking forward with enthusiasm to the nationwide canvass over the coming weeks.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘At election times on the canvass, her warmth and good nature struck a chord with most who met her.’
    • ‘Both candidates were putting in an intense canvass in north Cork over the past two days.’
    • ‘West's particularly weak performance, which reflected his marked disinclination to pursue an active canvass, led to his resignation as leader of the UUP.’

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/