- 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
Examples from the Web for spanned
Contemporary Examples of spanned
Twice in our conversations, which spanned two days this past week, the actors started joking about tripping on acid.How Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig Pulled Off Their Most Dramatic Roles Yet
September 12, 2014
Only after the attack occurred did we find out it spanned nearly eight hours.Why Democrats Are So Scared of Benghazi
May 8, 2014
The so-called “cut-outs” are the final chapter in an artistic career which spanned over 50 years.This Summer, Get Thee To London For The RSC’s Henry IV
April 28, 2014
In 2004, she won again for The Aviator, which spanned the first half of the 20th century.Finally! ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ Is Hollywood’s First 1990s Period Piece
December 23, 2013
Her acquaintances—from Noël Coward to Gary Cooper; from Maria Callas to Marilyn Monroe—spanned world wars and continents.Elsa Maxwell, the Kingmaker
November 1, 2012
Historical Examples of spanned
Headquarters were in the village across the river, spanned by a covered bridge.The Long Roll
Brownsville had the first bridge that spanned the Monongahela River.Watch Yourself Go By
Al. G. Field
With thumb and forefinger I could have spanned the distance between Soissons and Laon.High Adventure
James Norman Hall
The continent had been spanned; the objective had been attained.The American Empire
Below them lay the Crazy Woman, spanned by the Double-draw bridge.Laramie Holds the Range
Frank H. Spearman
verb spans, spanning or spanned (tr)
Word Origin for span
Word Origin for span
"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.
see spick and span.