Definitions for: Span


[n] the act of sitting or standing astride
[n] a structure that allows people or vehicles to cross an obstacle such as a river or canal or railway etc.
[n] the distance or interval between two points
[n] a unit of length based on the width of the expanded human hand (usually taken as 9 inches)
[n] two items of the same kind
[n] the complete duration of something; "the job was finished in the span of an hour"
[v] to cover a wide area; "Rivers traverse the valley floor", "The parking lot spans 3 acres"



Webster (1913) Definition: Span, archaic
imp. & p. p. of Spin.


Span, n. [AS. spann; akin to D. span, OHG. spanna, G.
spanne, Icel. sp["o]nn. [root]170. See Span, v. t. ]
1. The space from the thumb to the end of the little finger
when extended; nine inches; eighth of a fathom.

2. Hence, a small space or a brief portion of time.

Yet not to earth's contracted span Thy goodness let
me bound. --Pope.

Life's but a span; I'll every inch enjoy.
--Farquhar.

3. The spread or extent of an arch between its abutments, or
of a beam, girder, truss, roof, bridge, or the like,
between its supports.

4. (Naut.) A rope having its ends made fast so that a
purchase can be hooked to the bight; also, a rope made
fast in the center so that both ends can be used.

5. [Cf. D. span, Sw. spann, Dan. sp[ae]nd, G. gespann. See
Span, v. t. ] A pair of horses or other animals driven
together; usually, such a pair of horses when similar in
color, form, and action.

Span blocks (Naut.), blocks at the topmast and
topgallant-mast heads, for the studding-sail halyards.

Span counter, an old English child's game, in which one
throws a counter on the ground, and another tries to hit
it with his counter, or to get his counter so near it that
he can span the space between them, and touch both the
counters. --Halliwell. ``Henry V., in whose time boys went
to span counter for French crowns.'' --Shak.

Span iron (Naut.), a special kind of harpoon, usually
secured just below the gunwale of a whaleboat.

Span roof, a common roof, having two slopes and one ridge,
with eaves on both sides. --Gwilt.

Span shackle (Naut.), a large bolt driven through the
forecastle deck, with a triangular shackle in the head to
receive the heel of the old-fashioned fish davit. --Ham.
Nav. Encyc.


Span, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Spanned; p. pr. & vb. n.
Spanning.] [AS. pannan; akin to D. & G. spannen, OHG.
spannan, Sw. sp["a]nna, Dan. sp[ae]nde, Icel. spenna, and
perh. to Gr. ? to draw, to drag, L. spatium space. [root]170.
Cf. Spin, v. t., Space, Spasm.]
1. To measure by the span of the hand with the fingers
extended, or with the fingers encompassing the object; as,
to span a space or distance; to span a cylinder.

My right hand hath spanned the heavens. --Isa.
xiviii. 13.

2. To reach from one side of to the order; to stretch over as
an arch.

The rivers were spanned by arches of solid masonry.
--prescott.

3. To fetter, as a horse; to hobble.


Span, v. i.
To be matched, as horses. [U. S.]

Synonyms: brace, bridge, couple, couplet, cross, distich, doubleton, duad, duet, duo, dyad, pair, straddle, sweep, traverse, twain, twosome, yoke

See Also: 2, arch, attention span, Bailey bridge, bateau bridge, call, call option, cantilever bridge, cattle grid, cattle guard, construction, continuance, cover, covered bridge, deuce, distance, drawbridge, duration, extend, floating bridge, flyover, flypast, footbridge, II, lift bridge, linear unit, motility, motion, move, movement, overcrossing, overpass, pedestrian bridge, pier, pontoon bridge, put, put option, rope bridge, steel arch bridge, structure, suspension bridge, transit, transportation, transportation system, trestle, trestle bridge, truss bridge, two, viaduct

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