[verb out-span; noun out-span]South African English

verb (used with object), out·spanned, out·span·ning.

to unyoke or unhitch, as oxen from a wagon.

verb (used without object), out·spanned, out·span·ning.

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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for outspan

Historical Examples of outspan

  • 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.


    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.

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 or -spanned

(tr) to unharness or unyoke (animals)
(intr) to relax

Word Origin for outspan

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