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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. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for expanses
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • 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
  • There were expanses of heavy tree and bush growth that they could not penetrate.

    Eight Keys to Eden Mark Irvin Clifton
  • The most important natural resources are the expanses of rich arable land, the rivers, and the forests.

    Area Handbook for Romania Eugene K. Keefe, Donald W. Bernier, Lyle E. Brenneman, William Giloane, James M. Moore, and Neda A. Walpole
  • 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
  • The laws of color preference differ with the size of expanses.

    Old-Time Gardens Alice Morse Earle
  • All the way I kept thinking of expanses of clean water and of breezes off the lake.

    Sudden Jim Clarence Budington Kelland
  • By the time these forms have thickened, the expanses of daffodil will have become a mass of bluebells.

    Picture and Text Henry James
  • Palma seems to have had no other aim than to fill his canvases with expanses of fair flesh and yellow hair.

  • The grey plains are therefore not expanses of water now, nor were they in time past.

    Are the Planets Inhabited? E. Walter Maunder
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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