Definition of canvass in US English:

canvass

verb

  • 1with object Solicit votes from (electors in a constituency)

    ‘in each ward, two workers canvassed some 2,000 voters’
    no object ‘she canvassed for votes’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A party that behaved pretty much as if it did not need the Muslim vote is now actively canvassing it.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘My friend had met Mr Dowd before when he had turned up at her doorstep canvassing for votes.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I recall an incident when I was canvassing for Labour in that general election campaign.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He said that probable candidates were obviously canvassing for votes from affiliates.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The campaign, organised by Lechlade farmer Charles Mann, will involve canvassing voters on doorsteps, distributing leaflets and putting up Tory posters.’
    • ‘Last fall, I spent seven weeks in the suburbs of Madison, Wisconsin, canvassing undecided voters for John Kerry.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘We left ourselves with two weeks to fight the election, the other parties have been out canvassing for five or six weeks.’
    • ‘Older adults living with young voters who were canvassed also voted at significantly higher rates.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Rain, hail or shine there are households to be canvassed and votes to be won.’
    campaign, electioneer, solicit votes, drum up support
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    1. 1.1 Try to obtain; request.
      ‘they're canvassing support among shareholders’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He did not canvass any support but he hoped it would be carried and circulated to every other local authority in the country.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I will also canvass the support of some organisations and labour movements.’
      • ‘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’
      • ‘Perhaps your committee should canvass its members about what they want from the club, instead of assuming that they know.’
      • ‘The community was earlier canvassed for input to the proposal.’
      • ‘Nor have any residents been canvassed for their opinion.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘After the body was found, teams of gardaí returned to canvass those people in the area around where Robert disappeared.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They have been conducting door-to-door inquiries and canvassing people in the area of the river and canal network.’
      • ‘He felt Gazette readers should be canvassed for their views.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The organisation - which represents tourism operations throughout the county - canvassed its members over the last few weeks.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      poll, question, ask, survey, interview, sound out, ascertain the opinions of
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  • 2with object Discuss thoroughly.

    ‘the issues that were canvassed are still unresolved’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 expect that many people will make submissions to the committee, and this will enable the matters addressed in the bill to be thoroughly canvassed.’
    • ‘Several suggestions as to its nature were put forward, and several plans of action were canvassed.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘We would be happy to canvass any reasonable suggestions for their improvement.’
    • ‘For this, I'd like to thoroughly canvass the various arguments why bloggers should not get such equal treatment.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The Government has been canvassing a range of options to encourage parents to pay off child support debts.’
    • ‘Very simply, this matter has been extensively canvassed by the Education and Science Committee.’
    • ‘Now, I don't propose to canvass the arguments of counsel.’
    • ‘Changes to the proposals may be considered after the arguments have been fully canvassed by the select committee.’
    • ‘The review has already commenced, and we in New Zealand First prefer to see this issue more thoroughly and clearly canvassed in the review.’
    • ‘I will not go into those in detail, as we canvassed them during the Committee stage of this debate.’
    • ‘One of the scenarios presently being canvassed is the possibility of a rapid decline in the value of the US dollar.’
    propose, suggest, submit, offer, air
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noun

  • usually in singular An act or process of attempting to secure votes or ascertain opinions.

    ‘a house-to-house canvass’
    • ‘Such findings on the canvass were what kept me going.’
    • ‘The finding will come as a disappointment to Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, who a week ago chose Tralee to start his nationwide canvass.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Many people have raised the ban on smoking in public houses with me during my election canvass.’
    • ‘Both candidates were putting in an intense canvass in north Cork over the past two days.’
    • ‘So how was the canvass going, asked one admirer.’
    • ‘On the canvass last week, McDowell was questioned repeatedly by one Ranelagh resident about his party's post-election intentions.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The only recurring mechanical problem uncovered in my informal canvass of enthusiasts was mainspring breakage.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘At election times on the canvass, her warmth and good nature struck a chord with most who met her.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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?’
    • ‘West's particularly weak performance, which reflected his marked disinclination to pursue an active canvass, led to his resignation as leader of the UUP.’
    • ‘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.’

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

/ˈkænvəs//ˈkanvəs/