lance

1 of 2

noun

1
: a steel-tipped spear carried by mounted knights or light cavalry
2
: any of various sharp objects suggestive of a lance: such as
a
: lancet
b
: a spear used for killing whales or fish
3

lance

2 of 2

verb

lanced; lancing

transitive verb

1
a
: to pierce with or as if with a lance
b
: to open with or as if with a lancet
lance a boil
2
: to throw forward : hurl

intransitive verb

: to move forward quickly

Example Sentences

Noun the lance struck squarely on the knight's shield, knocking him from his horse Verb He had the boil on his arm lanced. doctors used to lance infected sores, so that they could drain clean
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
During the match, Henry was wounded in the eye by a flying fragment of splintered lance. Scott Lafee, San Diego Union-Tribune, 24 Jan. 2023 The sharp lance has been a big help, and getting blackheads out is much easier. Sam Peters, ELLE, 21 Jan. 2023 The goal was to use the lance to knock the other competitor off their horse. Emilie Le Beau Lucchesi, Discover Magazine, 3 Aug. 2022 The shock of that sharp emotion strikes like a lance. Helen Shaw, Vulture, 26 Apr. 2022 Each shining bonnet guarded by stern lance-like leaves. WSJ, 13 Sep. 2022 Its glossy, lance-shape leaves arch gracefully from a central clump of stems, and can be plain green or variegated. Viveka Neveln, Better Homes & Gardens, 27 Sep. 2022 In one memorable connection, William chatted with Alan Cunningham, a former lance sergeant of the Welsh Guards, after noticing the regiment's badge on his sweatshirt. Simon Perry, Peoplemag, 27 Sep. 2022 Competing in a celebratory joust at French court, Henry received a fatal injury when his younger opponent’s lance struck his helmet, leaving splinters in his eye and head. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian Magazine, 9 Sep. 2022
Verb
The rumor was a man had died, he’d been caught beneath the rubble when lightning lanced the steeple. New York Times, 5 Mar. 2020 Brog next lanced various simulacra of common sense. Thomas Meaney, Harper's magazine, 20 Jan. 2020 My ex-partner used to poke me in the belly to create a metaphorical release, like lancing a boil. Maureen Stanton, Longreads, 17 Jan. 2020 The jet lanced the side of the tanker; the impact was shattering. Robert Faturechi, ProPublica, 2 Jan. 2020 Oruç fled, only to be found hiding in a goat pen, where a Spanish soldier first lanced him and then beheaded him. National Geographic, 8 Oct. 2019 In other words, Mr. Carlson is free-lancing for partisan purposes and the Senate should ignore him. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 28 Sep. 2018 India’s problems of corruption and cronyism would be impossible to fix without first lancing the boil of . . Tunku Varadarajan, WSJ, 4 July 2018 But the second captured the moment: The streak of the missile, drawn out in the long exposure, lanced up into the night, another one further behind it. Washington Post, 15 Apr. 2018 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'lance.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin lancea

Verb

Middle English launcen, from Anglo-French lancer, from Late Latin lanceare, from Latin lancea

First Known Use

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of lance was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near lance

Cite this Entry

“Lance.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lance. Accessed 8 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition

lance

1 of 2 noun
1
: a weapon consisting of a long shaft with a sharp steel head that was used by knights on horseback
2
: a sharp instrument
especially : lancet

lance

2 of 2 verb
lanced; lancing
: to pierce or cut with a lance or lancet

Medical Definition

lance

1 of 2 noun
: lancet

lance

2 of 2 transitive verb
lanced; lancing
: to open with or as if with a lancet : make an incision in or into
lance a boil
lance a vein

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