• synonyms


[lans, lahns]
  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.
Show More
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.
Show More

Origin of lance1

1250–1300; Middle English launce < Old French lance < Latin lancea (perhaps < Celtic)
Related formslance·like, adjectiveun·lanced, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for lancing

Historical Examples

  • These are cases in which lancing the gums would do nothing but mischief.

    The Mother's Manual of Children's Diseases

    Charles West, M.D.

  • The whale, however, was lost, in consequence of cutting the line in the act of lancing him.

  • Well, with all his faults, Lancing was a man of high courage.

  • Now, I conclude that Lancing did not fail to find his deceiver.

  • By nine o'clock Lancing had read in print how he had been cruelly betrayed.

British Dictionary definitions for lancing


  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
Show More
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
Show More

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 lancing



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."

Show More



"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.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

lancing in Medicine


  1. lancet
Show More
  1. To make an incision in, as with a lancet.
Show More
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.