- the distance between two supports of a structure.
- the structure so supported.
- the distance or space between two supports of a bridge.
verb (used with object), spanned, span·ning.
Origin of span1
Origin of span2
Synonyms for span
verb (used with object), spun or (Archaic) span, spun, spin·ning.
verb (used without object), spun or (Archaic) span, spun, spin·ning.
- the act of intentionally causing a rocket or guided missile to undergo a roll.
- a roll so caused.
- to create something new, as a company or assets, without detracting from or affecting the relative size or stability of the original: After the acquisition, the company was required to spin off about a third of its assets.
- to derive from or base on something done previously: They took the character of the maid and spun off another TV series.
Origin of spin
Synonyms for spin
Related Words for spanterm, spell, space, stretch, interval, period, length, traverse, cover, cross, extend, connect, time, reach, amount, spread, extent, compass, measure, bridge
Examples from the Web for span
Contemporary Examples of span
Five times during that span, the majority of species on the planet vanished in a short interval of time.Heed the Warnings: Why We’re on the Brink of Mass Extinction
Sean B. Carroll
November 30, 2014
In battle, it means the ability to shift from suicide bombers to tank columns and maneuver warfare in the span of a day.Has ISIS Peaked as a Military Power?
October 22, 2014
Typically, new equipment is developed in the span of two or three years.Font of Invention
September 18, 2014
And when a comedy produces 238 episodes over the span of 10 years, some of them are bound to be weird.15 Times ‘Friends’ Was Really, Really Weird
September 18, 2014
Ten bridges were closed; the span linking Oakland to the City didn't reopen for more than a month.San Fran Kisses Its 70,000-Person Toilet Goodbye
August 15, 2014
Historical Examples of span
And each of us, in the span of time, has really only a moment among our companions.
I don't know I ever did see the house so spick and span before!Alice Adams
She span round and fell all of a heap upon the tiled flooring.His Masterpiece
What was it to her if the Airly's did keep a span, and drive out every day?The Elm Tree Tales
F. Irene Burge Smith
By quiet indications the bridge would be built and span their lives with beauty.Howards End
E. M. Forster
verb spans, spanning or spanned (tr)
Word Origin for span
Word Origin for span
verb spins, spinning or spun
- to draw out and twist (natural fibres, as of silk or cotton) into a long continuous thread
- to make such a thread or filament from (synthetic resins, etc), usually by forcing through a nozzle
- the intrinsic angular momentum of an elementary particle or atomic nucleus, as distinguished from any angular momentum resulting from its motion
- a quantum number determining values of this angular momentum in units of the Dirac constant, having integral or half-integral valuesSymbol: S, s
Word Origin for spin
"distance between two objects," Old English span "distance between the thumb and little finger of an extended hand," probably related to Middle Dutch spannen "to join, fasten" (see span (n.2)).
The Germanic word was borrowed into Medieval Latin as spannus, hence Italian spanna, Old French espanne, French empan. As a measure of length, roughly nine inches. Meaning "length of time" first attested 1590s; that of "space between abutments of an arch, etc." is from 1725. Meaning "maximum lateral dimension of an aircraft" is first recorded 1909. Attention span is recorded from 1922.
"two animals driven together," 1769, from Dutch span, from spannen "to stretch or yoke," from Middle Dutch spannen, cognate with Old English spannen "to join" (see span (v.)).
Old English spannen "to clasp, fasten, stretch, span," from Proto-Germanic *spanwanan (cf. Old Norse spenna, Old Frisian spanna, Middle Dutch spannen, Old High German spannan, German spannen), from PIE root *(s)pen- "to draw, stretch, spin" (cf. Latin pendere "to hang, to cause to hang," pondus "weight" (the weight of a thing measured by how much it stretches a cord), pensare "to weigh, consider;" Greek ponein "to toil;" Lithuanian spendziu "lay a snare;" Old Church Slavonic peti "stretch, strain," pato "fetter," pina "I span;" Old English spinnan "to spin;" for other cognates, see spin (v.)). The meaning "to encircle with the hand(s)" is from 1781; in the sense of "to form an arch over (something)" it is first recorded 1630s.
Old English spinnan "draw out and twist fibers into thread," from Proto-Germanic *spenwanan (cf. Old Norse and Old Frisian spinna, Danish spinde, Dutch spinnen, Old High German spinnan, German spinnen, Gothic spinnan), from PIE *(s)pen- "stretch" (cf. Armenian henum "I weave;" Greek patos "garment, literally "that which is spun;" Lithuanian pinu "I plait, braid," spandau "I spin;" Middle Welsh cy-ffiniden "spider;" see span (v.)).
Sense of "to cause to turn rapidly" is from 1610s; meaning "revolve, turn around rapidly" first recorded 1660s. Meaning "attempt to influence reporters' minds after an event has taken place but before they have written about it" seems to have risen to popularity in the 1984 U.S. presidential campaign; e.g. spin doctor, first attested 1984. Spinning wheel is attested from c.1400; spinning-jenny is from 1783 (see jenny); invented by James Hargreaves c.1764-7, patented 1770.
"fairly rapid ride," 1856, from spin (v.).
see spick and span.
In addition to the idioms beginning with spin
- spin a yarn
- spin control
- spin doctor
- spin off
- spin one's wheels
- spin out
- go into a tailspin
- make one's head spin
- put a spin on