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

Seeing that vast expanse of dead trees on my phone was like being slapped across the face with a gauntlet. William Wan, chicagotribune.com, "I had a bit of an app addiction. Until these apps saved me.," 5 July 2018 This Buckminster Fuller inspired GEODESIC DOME looks straight out of the future—but, in a more literal sense, also out to the vast expanse of Joshua Tree National Park. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "7 Airbnbs with Awe-Inspiring Architecture," 6 June 2018 The next significant path of growth for Orlando will be to the south onto the vast expanse of Deseret Ranch, owned by the Mormon Church. OrlandoSentinel.com, "New home builders in Orlando area keep moving outward," 25 Jan. 2018 Over the course of Spain’s environmental movement (which could be said to have begun in 1918 when King Alfonso VIII established the first national park), vast expanses of the country have been set aside. Smithsonian, "Explore Catalonia’s Most Beautiful Nature Parks," 15 June 2018 Farther east there are the Blue Hills and Town Fork Creek neighborhoods and the green expanse of Swope Park, home to Starlight Theatre, the Kansas City Zoo and the Swope Soccer Village. Bill Turque, kansascity, "'Overkill' or 'great connector'? Thoughts along 63rd Street on renaming it for MLK," 29 May 2018 On the other side lies more mountains, Whittier and the gray-green expanse of Passage Canal. Kirsten Swann, Anchorage Daily News, "Girdwood, Whittier, Seward: The best of Alaska along one epic, scenic highway," 3 May 2018 Down a gorgeous staircase enclosed in a tower with double-height windows is the main bedroom level, where a huge master suite with an expanse of windows and its own concrete fireplace, a walk-in closet, and a full bath with glass walls holds court. Lauren Ro, Curbed, "Incredible midcentury home by Joseph Esherick wants $2M outside San Francisco," 10 Apr. 2018 Once inside the lab, Sapan lights a cigarette and blows the smoke into the eerie expanse, revealing a red laser beam that has been split into two. Jennifer Nalewicki, Smithsonian, "Explore the Subterranean Chambers of the World’s Longest-Operating Hologram Gallery," 9 Feb. 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

8 Nov 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).


playful or foolish behavior

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