\ ˈvan How to pronounce van (audio) \

Definition of van

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1a : a usually enclosed wagon or motortruck used for transportation of goods or animals also : caravan sense 2a
b : a multipurpose enclosed motor vehicle having a boxlike shape, rear or side doors, and side panels often with windows
c : a detachable passenger cabin transportable by aircraft or truck
2 chiefly British : an enclosed railroad freight or baggage car


vanned; vanning

Definition of van (Entry 2 of 4)

transitive verb

: to transport by van

Definition of van (Entry 3 of 4)

Definition of van (Entry 4 of 4)

1 dialectal, England : a winnowing device (such as a fan)

First Known Use of van

Noun (1)

1829, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1840, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

1607, in the meaning defined above

Noun (3)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for van

Noun (1)

short for caravan entry 1

Noun (2)

by shortening

Noun (3)

Middle English, borrowed from Anglo-French, going back to Latin vannus, of uncertain origin

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Time Traveler for van

Time Traveler

The first known use of van was in the 14th century

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Cite this Entry

“Van.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/van. Accessed 19 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for van


\ ˈvan How to pronounce van (audio) \

Kids Definition of van

: a usually closed wagon or truck for moving goods or animals

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More from Merriam-Webster on van

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for van

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with van

Spanish Central: Translation of van

Nglish: Translation of van for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of van for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about van

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