Canvas and Canvass

What is the difference between canvas and canvass?

Canvas is heavy cloth.
To canvass means to survey opinion or to solicit votes.

Canvas and Canvass

The words canvas and canvass sound identical, but their meanings are very different.


The noun canvas (with one s at the end) refers to a heavy woven cloth of hemp, flax, or cotton. It is typically used for sails, tents and paintings. The word canvas is also used figuratively for the floor of a boxing or wrestling ring (i.e., they are often not made of canvas).


The verb to canvass has several closely related meanings. It can mean:
To collect opinions. To electioneer (i.e., to collect votes through persuasion of voters in a political campaign). To examine closely. To ask around.

Canvass Used as a Noun

Nowadays, canvass is used as a noun to denote the processes above. For example: Note: The noun canvassing is more common than canvass. It can be substituted into both examples above.

A Quick Test

Canvass Means Solicit Support

Use the last two letters of canvass to bring solicit support to mind.

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See Also

What are nouns? What are verbs? List of easily confused words