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[ik-spans] /ɪkˈspæns/
an uninterrupted space or area; a wide extent of anything:
an expanse of water.
something that is spread out, especially over a relatively large area:
that great expanse, the sky.
expansion; extension:
the wide expanse of scientific knowledge.
Origin of expanse
1660-70; < New Latin expānsum, noun use of neuter of Latin expānsus, past participle of expandere to expand
1. sweep, reach, range, stretch. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for expanses
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • There were expanses of heavy tree and bush growth that they could not penetrate.

    Eight Keys to Eden Mark Irvin Clifton
  • The laws of color preference differ with the size of expanses.

    Old-Time Gardens Alice Morse Earle
  • That dream of his when he rode on the Wiltshire expanses—a curious dream: the lark silent, the earth dissolving.

    The Longest Journey E. M. Forster
  • He glimpsed it as it moved across the squares of gray, then lost it as it merged in the expanses of shadow between.

    The Hour of the Dragon Robert E. Howard
  • All the way I kept thinking of expanses of clean water and of breezes off the lake.

    Sudden Jim Clarence Budington Kelland
  • Palma seems to have had no other aim than to fill his canvases with expanses of fair flesh and yellow hair.

  • At dawn the country looked parched and treeless; expanses of buffalo grass and herds of cattle.

    In to the Yukon William Seymour Edwards
  • But in the connecting doorways there were expanses of bare, highly-polished oak floor, and here he did stamp.

  • By the time these forms have thickened, the expanses of daffodil will have become a mass of bluebells.

    Picture and Text Henry James
British Dictionary definitions for expanses


an uninterrupted surface of something that spreads or extends, esp over a wide area; stretch: an expanse of water
expansion or extension
Word Origin
C17: from New Latin expansum the heavens, from Latin expansus spread out, from expandere to expand
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for expanses



1660s, from Latin expansum, noun use of neuter of expansus, past participle of expandere (see expand).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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