ex·panse | \ ik-ˈspan(t)s \

Definition of expanse 

1 : firmament

2 : great extent of something spread out an expanse of calm ocean

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Examples of expanse in a Sentence

The explorer gazed across the vast Arctic expanse. the great explorers who crossed the vast expanses of the seven seas in small ships

Recent Examples on the Web

In the wake of a man berating a woman for wearing a Puerto Rican flag T-shirt at a forest preserve, Cook County officials repeatedly have reassured people that the serene expanses of woods are a safe place to go. Gregory Pratt, chicagotribune.com, "County officials defend Forest Preserves police in wake of man harassing woman over Puerto Rican flag shirt," 13 July 2018 Having more amphibs engineered and constructed for independent operations is seen as a strategic advantage in light of the Pacific rebalance and the geographical expanse of the region. Kris Osborn, Fox News, "Navy pushes for more amphibious assault ships," 13 July 2018 The interior also has plenty of wind, easy-to-develop expanses of flat land and transportation access to turbine component makers. L.m. Sixel, Houston Chronicle, "Cost to generate wind power fell by one-third in six years," 13 July 2018 But the game animals Ledford wants to showcase need sprawling expanses of flat, shrubby grassland. Leslie Nemo, Scientific American, "From Defiled to Wild—Can a Spent Coal Mine Be Reborn as a Nature Conservation Center?," 11 July 2018 That expanse of land will continue to be maintained by the town’s Public Works Department. Katie Park, Philly.com, "With a $1M anonymous donation, a shuttered historic mansion in Villanova will come back to life," 18 June 2018 The onslaught of wings tore through my earth as your eyes swallowed mine — the dark expanse of a flock in wild chaos. Hartford Courant, courant.com, "The Poems Of Aaron Caycedo-Kimura: Honoring Ones Parents," 13 June 2018 The couple pursued the property with the idea of preserving the expanse of native Palouse prairie that wraps around three sides of the butte and abuts Washington State Parks land. Eric Barker, The Seattle Times, "Couples win bid for chunk of the Palouse," 10 June 2018 The unexpected expanse of green is a draw, thanks to its impressive views of the skyline and the Hollywood Reservoir—even the ocean on clear days. Casey Schreiner, Los Angeles Magazine, "How to Upgrade Your Pup’s Dog Park Experience in L.A.," 29 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'expanse.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of expanse

1637, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for expanse

New Latin expansum, from Latin, neuter of expansus, past participle of expandere

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Statistics for expanse

Last Updated

13 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for expanse

The first known use of expanse was in 1637

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More Definitions for expanse



English Language Learners Definition of expanse

: a large and usually flat open space or area


ex·panse | \ ik-ˈspans \

Kids Definition of expanse

: a wide area or stretch an expanse of desert

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Comments on expanse

What made you want to look up expanse? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the setting in which something occurs

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