Definition of SPAN

archaic past of spin



Definition of SPAN

:  the distance from the end of the thumb to the end of the little finger of a spread hand; also :  an English unit of length equal to nine inches (22.9 centimeters)
:  an extent, stretch, reach, or spread between two limits: as
a :  a limited space (as of time); especially :  an individual's lifetime
b :  the spread or extent between abutments or supports (as of a bridge); also :  a portion thus supported
c :  the maximum distance laterally from tip to tip of an airplane

Origin of SPAN

Middle English, from Old English spann; akin to Old High German spanna span, Middle Dutch spannen to stretch, hitch up
First Known Use: before 12th century

Other Architecture Terms

buttress, casita, cornice, fanlight, garret, lintel, parapet, pilaster, plinth

Rhymes with SPAN


transitive verb

: to continue throughout (a period of time)

: to cover or include (a wide area, a large number of things, etc.)

: to cross over (something)


Full Definition of SPAN

a :  to measure by or as if by the hand with fingers and thumb extended
b :  measure
a :  to extend across <a career that spanned four decades>
b :  to form an arch over <a small bridge spanned the pond>
c :  to place or construct a span over
:  to be capable of expressing any element of under given operations <a set of vectors that spans a vector space>

Examples of SPAN

  1. His career as a singer spanned three decades.
  2. Their empire once spanned several continents.
  3. Her academic interests span a wide variety of topics.
  4. A bridge spans the river.

First Known Use of SPAN




Definition of SPAN

:  a pair of animals (as mules) usually matched in appearance and action and driven together

Origin of SPAN

Dutch, from Middle Dutch, from spannen to hitch up
First Known Use: 1769


noun \ˈspan\   (Medical Dictionary)

Medical Definition of SPAN

:  an extent of distance or of time; especially :  life span


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