span

\ ˈspan How to pronounce span (audio) \

Definition of span

 (Entry 1 of 4)

archaic past tense of spin

span

noun (1)

Definition of span (Entry 2 of 4)

1 : the distance from the end of the thumb to the end of the little finger of a spread hand also : an English unit of length equal to nine inches (22.9 centimeters)
2 : an extent, stretch, reach, or spread between two limits: such as
a : a limited space (as of time) especially : an individual's lifetime
b : the spread or extent between abutments or supports (as of a bridge) also : a portion thus supported
c : the maximum distance laterally from tip to tip of an airplane

span

verb
spanned; spanning

Definition of span (Entry 3 of 4)

transitive verb

1a : to measure by or as if by the hand with fingers and thumb extended
b : measure
2a : to extend across a career that spanned four decades
b : to form an arch over a small bridge spanned the pond
c : to place or construct a span over
3 : to be capable of expressing any element of under given operations a set of vectors that spans a vector space

span

noun

Definition of span (Entry 4 of 4)

: a pair of animals (such as mules) usually matched in appearance and action and driven together

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for span

Synonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of span in a Sentence

Verb His career as a singer spanned three decades. Their empire once spanned several continents. Her academic interests span a wide variety of topics. A bridge spans the river.
See More

First Known Use of span

Noun (1)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1560, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

1769, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for span

Noun (1)

Middle English, from Old English spann; akin to Old High German spanna span, Middle Dutch spannen to stretch, hitch up

Noun

Dutch, from Middle Dutch, from spannen to hitch up

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about span

Time Traveler for span

Time Traveler

The first known use of span was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for span

Cite this Entry

“Span.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/span. Accessed 17 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for span

span

verb

English Language Learners Definition of span

: to continue throughout (a period of time)
: to cover or include (a wide area, a large number of things, etc.)
: to cross over (something)

span

noun
\ ˈspan How to pronounce span (audio) \

Kids Definition of span

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a limited portion of time span of life I learned to ski in the span of one hour.
2 : the spread (as of an arch or bridge) from one support to another
3 : the width of something from one side to another

span

verb
spanned; spanning

Kids Definition of span (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to reach or extend across A bridge spans the river.
2 : to continue over a period of time The actor's career spanned five decades.

span

noun
\ ˈspan How to pronounce span (audio) \

Medical Definition of span

1 : an extent of distance or of time especially : life span

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on span

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

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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