ex·​panse ik-ˈspan(t)s How to pronounce expanse (audio)
: great extent of something spread out
an expanse of calm ocean

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 Coates sent location scouts searching for large expanses of tarmac that would feature in the lead-up to the launch. Jazz Tangcay, Variety, 14 Sep. 2023 Most California beaches have never been the wide, sandy expanses seen in East Coast states such as Florida, some experts say. Phil Diehl, San Diego Union-Tribune, 10 Sep. 2023 Saturday night, the Deep Playa, the expanse of desert that usually fills up at night with wub-wubbing art cars and multicolored artwork, remained dark and quiet. Alden Wicker, WIRED, 7 Sep. 2023 Campground Kills involve genius use of silhouettes paired with screams — backed, of course, by a remote expanse of forestation inside which no one can hear said screams. 4. Jen Juneau, Peoplemag, 3 Sep. 2023 Adrienne Lloyd, the health policy manager at the Texas branch of the Children’s Defense Fund, an advocacy group, said that because of its size and rural expanse, Texas was an especially difficult state for outreach to people whose coverage may be at risk. Noah Weiland, New York Times, 13 Aug. 2023 The unexpected sight arrived days into this year’s Burning Man, which saw torrential rain flood and muddy the vast expanse of Black Rock City, the festival’s makeshift community of tents, vehicles and art installations. Jp Mangalindan, Peoplemag, 8 Sep. 2023 The universe has vast gulfs in space, gargantuan numbers of stars, and lastly, immense expanses of time. Popular Mechanics, 8 Sep. 2023 The conservation push covers nearly half of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A), the nation’s largest expanse of public land, which hosts a range of sensitive Arctic wildlife. Timothy Puko, BostonGlobe.com, 6 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'expanse.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1637, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of expanse was in 1637

Dictionary Entries Near expanse

Cite this Entry

“Expanse.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/expanse. Accessed 4 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


ex·​panse ik-ˈspan(t)s How to pronounce expanse (audio)
: a wide space, area, or stretch
the vast expanse of the ocean

More from Merriam-Webster on expanse

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