noun \ˈkan-vəs\

: a strong, rough cloth that is used to make bags, tents, sails, etc.

: a specially prepared piece of cloth on which a picture can be painted by an artist

: a painting made on a piece of cloth

Full Definition of CANVAS

:  a firm closely woven cloth usually of linen, hemp, or cotton used for clothing and formerly much used for tents and sails
:  a set of sails :  sail
:  a piece of canvas used for a particular purpose
:  tent; also :  a group of tents
a :  a piece of cloth backed or framed as a surface for a painting; also :  the painting on such a surface
b :  the background, setting, or scope of a historical or fictional account or narrative
:  a coarse cloth so woven as to form regular meshes for working with the needle
:  the canvas-covered floor of a boxing or wrestling ring
can·vas·like \-vəs-ˌlīk\ adjective

Variants of CANVAS

can·vas also can·vass \ˈkan-vəs\

Examples of CANVAS

  1. a tent made of canvas
  2. Use a canvas to cover the boat.
  3. The museum has several canvases by Rubens.

Origin of CANVAS

Middle English canevas, from Anglo-French canevas, chanevaz, from Vulgar Latin *cannabaceus hempen, from Latin cannabis hemp — more at cannabis
First Known Use: 13th century

Other Textiles Terms

batt, bias, brocade, duck, flock, lawn, toile


canvased or canvassedcanvas·ing or canvass·ing

Definition of CANVAS

transitive verb
:  to cover, line, or furnish with canvas

First Known Use of CANVAS



noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Stout cloth. Canvas (probably named for cannabis, or hemp), has been made from hemp and flax fibres since ancient times to produce cloth for sails. More recently it has also been made from tow, jute, cotton, and mixtures of such fibres. Flax canvas is essentially of double warp (see weaving), being invariably intended to withstand pressure or rough usage. Articles made from canvas include camera and golf bags, running shoes, tents, and mailbags. Tarred canvas is used for tarpaulins to cover goods. Artists' canvas for painting is much lighter than sail canvas; those of the best quality are made of cream or bleached flax fibre.


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