Humanities › English Canvas and Canvass Commonly confused words Share Flipboard Email Print Rebecca Tabor Armstrong/Moment/Getty Images English English Grammar An Introduction to Punctuation Writing By Richard Nordquist English and Rhetoric Professor Ph.D., Rhetoric and English, University of Georgia M.A., Modern English and American Literature, University of Leicester B.A., English, State University of New York Dr. Richard Nordquist is professor emeritus of rhetoric and English at Georgia Southern University and the author of several university-level grammar and composition textbooks. our editorial process Richard Nordquist Updated February 20, 2019 The words canvas and canvass are homophones: they sound alike but have different meanings.The noun canvas refers to a closely woven cloth used for such things as tents, sails, and oil paintings. The verb canvass means to look over carefully or to solicit votes, orders, or opinions. As a noun, canvass means the act of estimating an outcome or gathering support for a vote. Examples Ella pressed the knife as hard as she could against the thick canvas of the sail.From morning to night the young candidate for mayor went from door to door to canvass the voters.The campaign included six automobiles loaded with good speakers for a two-day personal canvass. Practice (a) The instructor must _____ the students to find a time when most can leave the campus for several hours.(b) In the middle of the 1500s, Titian began painting on rough _____ rather than on smooth wooden panels. Answers to Practice Exercises (a) The instructor must canvass the students to find a time when most can leave the campus for several hours.(b) In the middle of the 1500s, Titian began painting on rough canvas rather than on smooth wooden panels.