an act of someone or something that spaces.
the fixing or arranging of spaces.

Origin of spacing

First recorded in 1675–85; space + -ing1
Related formsself-spac·ing, adjective




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, spac·ing.

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 formsspac·er, nounmis·space, verb (used with object), mis·spaced, mis·spac··space, verb (used with object), re·spaced, re·spac·ing. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for spacing

Historical Examples of spacing

  • Spacing for contractions has been retained to match the original 1901 text.

  • Spacing around ellipses and em-dashes is as in the original.

    The Cricket

    Marjorie Cooke

  • Spacing of this sort is particularly objectionable for good printing.


    A. A. Stewart

  • Spacing retained in all occurrences of 'any thing', 'every thing', 'every where' and 'every one'.

    Wonderful Stories for Children

    Hans Christian Andersen

  • Spacing clips on the top edge of the outer shell hold the tops of the reinforcing bars in position.

    Concrete Construction

    Halbert P. Gillette

British Dictionary definitions for spacing



the arrangement of letters, words, etc, on a page in order to achieve legibility or aesthetic appeal
the arrangement of objects in a space



the unlimited three-dimensional expanse in which all material objects are locatedRelated adjective: spatial
an interval of distance or time between two points, objects, or events
a blank portion or area
  1. unoccupied area or roomthere 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 axiomsEuclidean space
Also called: spacing telegraphy the period of time that separates complete letters, digits, and other characters in Morse code

verb (tr)

to place or arrange at intervals or with spaces between
to divide into or by spacesto space one's time evenly
printing to separate (letters, words, or lines) by the insertion of spaces

Word Origin for space

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

Word Origin and History for spacing



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

Medicine definitions for spacing




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.

Science definitions for spacing



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.
The familiar three-dimensional region or field of everyday experience.
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 © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with spacing


In addition to the idiom beginning with space

  • space out

also see:

  • breathing space
  • take up space
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.