ex·​panse | \ ik-ˈspan(t)s How to pronounce expanse (audio) \

Definition of expanse

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Benoit Tessier/Reuters LYON, France — Alex Morgan had the ball at her feet, Carli Lloyd at her side, and a great green expanse opening up in front of her eyes. Rory Smith, New York Times, "Ruthless. Relentless. Victorious.," 2 July 2019 Beyond the hills were more hills, and then the flat expanse of the Mojave Desert, trackless and vast. David Canfield, EW.com, "First Look: The Andromeda Strain is back with a new look for its 50th anniversary," 26 June 2019 Armstrong flew the lander almost parallel to the surface, passing over a large crater and an unsuitable field of rubble before spotting a flat expanse of powder. Stephen Witt, WIRED, "Apollo 11: Mission Out of Control," 24 June 2019 And years of drought and an economic downturn worsened the situation as farmers and builders abandoned wide expanses of desert, contributing to some of the worse dust storms on record. AZCentral.com, "Summer storms are a spectacle, but the dust in them is hazardous to your health," 18 June 2019 The goal for the perfect expanse of green evolved rapidly over the 20th century. Jennifer Chesak, Twin Cities, "Jennifer Chesak: My dad obsesses over his lawn. I ripped mine up.," 14 June 2019 The abandoned home on Kenwood Avenue, sitting alone among a grassy expanse in the city’s most violent area, appeared on Hogsett’s transformation list because of a 2015 repair order. Ryan Martin, Indianapolis Star, "Mayor Joe Hogsett says he's fixed 2,500 blighted homes. Does this look 'transformed'?," 11 June 2019 But here, at UC Merced, whose handful of big buildings rise from a flat expanse of farmland, the picket line is tiny, maybe two dozen workers and a few students. Robin Abcarian, latimes.com, "The education of Bertha Perez: How a UC Merced custodian's disenchantment led to a political awakening," 11 May 2018 Just as how in the real world, our parades are routinely disrupted by uninvited guests, even in the endless expanse of virtual space, our spaces get invaded, our peace disturbed, our business minded by those who can’t seem to mind their own. Michael Andor Brodeur, BostonGlobe.com, "Online and off, Pride Month is off to a rocky start," 14 June 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about expanse

Statistics for expanse

Last Updated

5 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for expanse

The first known use of expanse was in 1637

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for expanse



English Language Learners Definition of expanse

: a large and usually flat open space or area


ex·​panse | \ ik-ˈspans How to pronounce expanse (audio) \

Kids Definition of expanse

: a wide area or stretch an expanse of desert

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on expanse

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with expanse

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for expanse

Spanish Central: Translation of expanse

Nglish: Translation of expanse for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of expanse for Arabic Speakers

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).


food or victuals

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!