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Syllabification: can·vas
Pronunciation: /ˈkanvəs

Definition of canvas in English:


1A strong, coarse unbleached cloth made from hemp, flax, cotton, or a similar yarn, used to make items such as sails and tents and as a surface for oil painting: [as modifier]: a canvas bag
More example sentences
  • Fabrics such as twill, poplin, canvas, suede, denim and wool are also available in a variety of styles.
  • The fabrics include washed denims, soft poplins, heavy canvas, twills, and yarn-dyed plaids.
  • Herdsmen dwell in large tents made of canvas or woven yak wool.
1.1A piece of canvas cloth prepared for use as the surface for an oil painting.
Example sentences
  • The larger pieces are completed on canvases while the smaller pieces use a wooden surface.
  • Coming prepared with several canvases already smudged with charcoal outlines she readied her supplies.
  • His hard-edged geometric paintings on diamond-shaped canvases were inspired by artists such as Piet Mondrian and Josef Albers.
1.2An oil painting: Turner’s late canvases
More example sentences
  • During the 1930s his work included large canvases depicting the life of working people in a style influenced by Picasso and Léger.
  • His colorful canvases often depict peasant life in Mexico, which he transformed into magical scenes.
  • The 40 canvasses, watercolours, drawings, photographs and sculptures all have a Thai ambiance, though not all subjects are landscapes.
1.3A variety of canvas with an open weave, used as a basis for tapestry and embroidery.
Example sentences
  • Tirianna carefully sneaked over to the tapestry and Sicirin pulled her beneath the embroidered canvas.
  • They may be school children but this does not stop them from weaving stories on canvas.
  • If politics was one thread weaving through the canvas of John MacKenna's young life, then teaching was another.
1.4 (the canvas) The floor of a boxing or wrestling ring, having a canvas covering.
Example sentences
  • The place where she's landed could be the canvas of a boxing ring, that's how happy she is to be home.
  • Jimmy twice had the iron jawed Bonevena on the canvas, something Joe Frazier could not do in 25 rounds of fighting.
  • From where I was sitting, I could see Tunney's back as Dempsey crumbled to the canvas.
1.5Either of a racing boat’s tapering ends, originally covered with canvas.
Example sentences
  • Two spots were available and coming out of the start four boats remained within a canvas of each other.
  • Pulling out a final sprint Todorovich and Popovic reduced a boat length deficit down to a canvas as they closed in on Greece.
  • However Great Britain had a true race on their hands as Slovenia put the pressure on staying within a canvas of Great Britain throughout the race.

verb (canvases, canvasing, canvased)

[with object] (usually be canvased) Back to top  
Cover with canvas: the door had been canvased over


late Middle English: from Old Northern French canevas, based on Latin cannabis 'hemp', from Greek kannabis.


by a canvas

(In boat racing) by a small margin.
[referring to the tapered front end of a racing boat (see above)]
Example sentences
  • First Denmark gained the leading edge, holding on to it, although only by a canvas over Olympic spare Djordje Visacki rowing in bow seat for Serbia & Montenegro.
  • This time they only beat us by a canvas (just the end bit of the boat with no people in it).
  • Here's the Selborne crew which beat Dale by a canvas in a thrilling race on the Buffalo River on Saturday: P le Roux, I McJannet, D Dennison, M Cole and J Bothma.

under canvas

1In a tent or tents: the family will be living under canvas
More example sentences
  • Tents are essentially small stately homes under canvas - teak furniture, proper beds, flush WCs, bucket showers, laundry service.
  • Make a tent - recreate the thrill of being under canvas by pegging old sheets or blankets over the washing line or rotary dryer and weighting them at the corners to create a tent.
  • Few things are more exciting to children than sleeping under canvas, particularly when there's a beach outside their tent flaps.
2With sails spread.
Example sentences
  • In Cuyp's representation the tautness of their bent masts under canvas mimics the bulges of the cows' ribs through their slack hides.

Definition of canvas in:

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