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[lans, lahns]
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  1. a long wooden shaft with a pointed metal head, used as a weapon by knights and cavalry soldiers in charging.
  2. a cavalry soldier armed with such a weapon; lancer.
  3. an implement resembling the weapon, as a spear for killing a harpooned whale.
  4. (initial capital letter) Military. a U.S. Army surface-to-surface rocket with a range of 47 miles (75 km) and capable of carrying a tactical nuclear warhead.
  5. a lancet.
  6. oxygen lance.
  7. Machinery.
    1. a tube having a nozzle for cleaning furnace walls and other inaccessible surfaces with air, water, or steam.
    2. a pipe for directing oxygen onto a heated metal object in order to burn a hole in it, the lance also being consumed so as to add to the heat.
verb (used with object), lanced, lanc·ing.
  1. to open with or as if with a lancet.
  2. to pierce with a lance.
  3. to cut through (concrete or the like) with an oxygen lance.

Origin of lance1

1250–1300; Middle English launce < Old French lance < Latin lancea (perhaps < Celtic)
Related formslance·like, adjectiveun·lanced, adjective


[lans, lahns]
  1. sand lance.

Origin of lance2

perhaps special use of lance1, from its shape


  1. a male given name.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for lance

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British Dictionary definitions for lance


  1. a long weapon with a pointed head used by horsemen to unhorse or injure an opponent
  2. a similar weapon used for hunting, whaling, etc
  3. surgery another name for lancet
  4. the sand lanceSee sand eel
verb (tr)
  1. to pierce (an abscess or boil) with a lancet to drain off pus
  2. to pierce with or as if with a lance

Word Origin

C13 launce, from Old French lance, from Latin lancea
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

Word Origin and History for lance


late 13c. (late 12c. as a surname), from Old French lance (12c.), from Latin lancea "light spear, Spanish lance" (Italian lancia, Spanish lanza), possibly of Celt-Iberian origin. The French word spread into Germanic (cf. German Lanze, Middle Dutch lanse, Dutch lans, Danish landse). Lance corporal (1786) is from obsolete lancepesade "officer of lowest rank" (1570s), from Old Italian lancia spezzata "old soldier," literally "broken lance."


"to pierce with a lance," c.1300, from Old French lancier, from Late Latin lanceare "wield a lance; pierce with a lance," from lancea (see lance (n.)). The surgical sense (properly with reference to a lancet) is from late 15c. Related: Lanced; lancing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

lance in Medicine


([object Object])
  1. lancet
  1. To make an incision in, as with a lancet.

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