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[verb out-span; noun out-span] /verb ˌaʊtˈspæn; noun ˈaʊtˌspæn/ South African English
verb (used with object), outspanned, outspanning.
to unyoke or unhitch, as oxen from a wagon.
verb (used without object), outspanned, outspanning.
to remove the yoke, harness, etc., from animals.
the act or a place of outspanning.
Origin of outspan
1815-25; translation of Afrikaans uitspan; see out-, span2 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for outspan
Historical Examples
  • The sun was already below the horizon when they halted to “outspan.”

  • Provided he struck the road, he had only to turn to his left to reach the outspan.

  • So we trekked with the moon, Gaasha guiding us, and did not outspan till dawn.

    Swallow H. Rider Haggard
  • At our outspan at noon yesterday he came to me and offered me my liberty if I would help him.

    Prester John John Buchan
  • And now I will drive my waggons hence and outspan them outside the kraal.

    The Luck of Gerard Ridgeley Bertram Mitford
  • Their outspan was some three or four hundred yards distant from the kraal.

    The Luck of Gerard Ridgeley Bertram Mitford
  • But it was the time of the evening outspan that these two would enjoy most heartily.

    The Luck of Gerard Ridgeley Bertram Mitford
  • You arrived at a farmhouse and asked leave to outspan by the spruit.

    The African Colony John Buchan
  • We skirted the village on the left, and found the farm where we were to outspan.

    The African Colony John Buchan
  • The bearer will overtake us with your answer at our first outspan.

    Marie H. Rider Haggard
British Dictionary definitions for outspan


noun (ˈaʊtˌspæn)
an area on a farm kept available for travellers to rest and refresh animals
the act of unharnessing or unyoking
verb (ˌaʊtˈspæn) -spans, -spanning, -spanned
(transitive) to unharness or unyoke (animals)
(intransitive) to relax
Word Origin
C19: partial translation of Afrikaans uitspan, from uit out + spannen to stretch
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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