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[speys] /speɪs/
the unlimited or incalculably great three-dimensional realm or expanse in which all material objects are located and all events occur.
the portion or extent of this in a given instance; extent or room in three dimensions:
the space occupied by a body.
extent or area in two dimensions; a particular extent of surface:
to fill out blank spaces in a document.
Fine Arts.
  1. the designed and structured surface of a picture:
    In Mondrian's later work he organized space in highly complex rhythms.
  2. the illusion of depth on a two-dimensional surface.
a seat, berth, or room on a train, airplane, etc.
a place available for a particular purpose:
a parking space.
linear distance; a particular distance:
trees separated by equal spaces.
Mathematics. a system of objects with relations between the objects defined.
extent, or a particular extent, of time:
a space of two hours.
an interval of time; a while:
After a space he continued his story.
an area or interval allowed for or taken by advertising, as in a periodical, on the radio, etc.
Music. the interval between two adjacent lines of the staff.
an interval or blank area in text:
a space between the letters.
Printing. one of the blank pieces of metal, less than type-high, used to separate words, sentences, etc.
Telegraphy. an interval during the transmitting of a message when the key is not in contact.
radio or television broadcast time allowed or available for a program, advertisement, etc.
freedom or opportunity to express oneself, resolve a personal difficulty, be alone, etc.; allowance, understanding, or noninterference:
Right now, you can help by giving me some space.
verb (used with object), spaced, spacing.
to fix the space or spaces of; divide into spaces.
to set some distance apart.
Printing, Writing.
  1. to separate (words, letters, or lines) by spaces.
  2. to extend by inserting more space or spaces (usually followed by out).
of, relating to, or concerned with outer space or deep space:
a space mission.
designed for or suitable to use in the exploration of outer space or deep space:
space tools; specially packaged space food for astronauts.
Origin of space
1250-1300; Middle English (noun) < Old French espace < Latin spatium
Related forms
spacer, noun
misspace, verb (used with object), misspaced, misspacing.
respace, verb (used with object), respaced, respacing. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for space


the unlimited three-dimensional expanse in which all material objects are located related adjective spatial
an interval of distance or time between two points, objects, or events
a blank portion or area
  1. unoccupied area or room: there is no space for a table
  2. (in combination): space-saving, related adjective spacious
freedom to do what a person wishes to for his or her own personal development
  1. the region beyond the earth's atmosphere containing the other planets of the solar system, stars, galaxies, etc; universe
  2. (as modifier): a space probe, space navigation
  1. the region beyond the earth's atmosphere occurring between the celestial bodies of the universe. The density is normally negligible although cosmic rays, meteorites, gas clouds, etc, can occur. It can be divided into cislunar space (between the earth and moon), interplanetary space, interstellar space, and intergalactic space
  2. (as modifier): a space station, a space simulator
a seat or place, as on a train, aircraft, etc
  1. a piece of metal, less than type-high, used to separate letters or words in hot-metal printing
  2. any of the gaps used to separate letters, words, or lines in photocomposition, desktop publishing, etc
(music) any of the gaps between the lines that make up the staff
(maths) a collection of unspecified points having properties that obey a specified set of axioms: Euclidean space
(telegraphy) Also called spacing. the period of time that separates complete letters, digits, and other characters in Morse code
verb (transitive)
to place or arrange at intervals or with spaces between
to divide into or by spaces: to space one's time evenly
(printing) to separate (letters, words, or lines) by the insertion of spaces
Word Origin
C13: from Old French espace, from Latin spatium
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 space

c.1300, "an area, extent, expanse, lapse of time," a shortening of Old French espace, from Latin spatium "room, area, distance, stretch of time," of unknown origin. Astronomical sense of "stellar depths" is first recorded 1667 in "Paradise Lost."

Space isn't remote at all. It's only an hour's drive away if your car could go straight upwards. [Sir Fred Hoyle, "London Observer," 1979]
Typographical sense is attested from 1670s (typewriter space bar is from 1888). Space age is attested from 1946; spacewalk is from 1965. Many compounds first appeared in science fiction and speculative writing, e.g. spaceship (1894, "Journey in Other Worlds"); spacesuit (1920); spacecraft (1930, "Scientific American"); space travel (1931); space station (1936, "Rockets Through Space"); spaceman (1942, "Thrilling Wonder Stories;" earlier it meant "journalist paid by the length of his copy," 1892). Space race attested from 1959. Space shuttle attested by 1970.


1703, "to arrange at set intervals," from space (n.). Meaning "to be in a state of drug-induced euphoria" is recorded from 1968. Space cadet "eccentric person disconnected with reality" (often implying an intimacy with hallucinogenic drugs) is a 1960s phrase, probably traceable to 1950s U.S. sci-fi television program "Tom Corbett, Space Cadet," which was watched by many children who dreamed of growing up to be one and succeeded.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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space in Medicine

space (spās)
A particular area, extent, or cavity of the body.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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space in Science
  1. The region of the universe beyond Earth's atmosphere. ◇ The part of this region within the solar system is known as interplanetary space. ◇ The part of this region beyond the solar system but within the Milky Way or within another galaxy is known as interstellar space. ◇ The part of this region between the Milky Way and other galaxies is known as intergalactic space.

  2. The familiar three-dimensional region or field of everyday experience.

  3. Mathematics A mathematical object, typically a set of sets, that is usually structured to define a range across which variables or other objects (such as a coordinate system) can be defined.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for space


v,v phr

To daydream; wool-gather; not attend to what one is doing: He'd space on calling, break plans with me to hang out with his friends (1968+ Teenagers)

Related Terms

space cadet

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with space


In addition to the idiom beginning with
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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