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

Take advantage of the fact that hostas emerge late and plant the large open expanses with spring-flowering bulbs and ephemeral wildflowers such as toothworts (Dentaria), spring beauties (Claytonia), and trout lilies (Erythronium). Kris Wetherbee, Good Housekeeping, "How to Grow the Most Stunning Hostas," 7 Aug. 2018 The island benefits from large clear expanses of ocean to the north and south for polar orbits, as well as to the east for low earth orbits up to 500km. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Rocket Report: SpaceX doubles up, European resistance, condensed Kármán," 27 July 2018 The flat expanse of tall grasses bleached by the sun and the dry winter season was sectioned off by high chain-link fences and barbed wire. Jason Florio, Smithsonian, "The Dangerous Work of Relocating 5,000-Pound Rhinos," 22 May 2018 Eastern farmers may have to abandon corn in favor of heartier wheat and even rangeland because large expanses of cropland might fail altogether without sufficient water. Shannon Hall, Scientific American, "A Nation Divided: Arid/Humid Climate Boundary in U.S. Creeps Eastward," 27 Apr. 2018 Sitting amidst the roughly 125-square-mile Columbia Icefield–the largest expanse of ice in the Rockies–is Jasper National Park’s Athabasca Glacier (pictured): one of the most easily-accessible glaciers on the continent. Daniel Otis, Sunset, "Best Banff & Jasper Activities," 22 Jan. 2018 Sometimes, the film's hero Miguel stands in the foreground and marvels at giant expanses of buildings and glowing creatures—and the filmmakers opt to bend the laws of perception and just let every single detail drink in a full 3840x2160 resolution. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Coco isn’t just a must-own 4K/HDR film—it’s a bright sign of the format’s future," 26 Feb. 2018 Others are atmospheric, like hazy skies or endless expanses of coastal fog. David Pagel, latimes.com, "When a rectangle is more than a rectangle: Making sense of Patrick Wilson's colorful chaos," 5 Feb. 2018 Digitization allowed for the rapid expanse, area codes gave a sense of personalization like a fingerprint. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Where Area Codes Came From, And Why They Don't Make Sense," 3 Nov. 2017

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

15 Feb 2019

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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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

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