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van

1
[ van ]
/ væn /
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noun
the foremost or front division of an army, a fleet, or any group leading an advance or in position to lead an advance.
those who are in the forefront of a movement or the like.
the forefront in any movement, course of progress, or the like.
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Origin of van

1
First recorded in 1600–10; short for vanguard

Other definitions for van (2 of 5)

van2
[ van ]
/ væn /

noun
a covered vehicle, usually a large truck or trailer, used for moving furniture, goods, animals, etc.
a smaller boxlike vehicle that resembles a panel truck, often has double doors both at the rear and along the curb side, and that can be used as a truck, fitted with rows of seats, or equipped with living quarters for traveling and camping.
British.
  1. a railway baggage car.
  2. a covered, boxlike railway car, as one used to carry freight.
  3. a small, horse-drawn wagon or a small truck, as one used by tradespeople to carry light goods.
Also called van conversion. a conventional van whose cargo area has been equipped with living facilities, extra windows, and often increased headroom.
verb (used with object), vanned, van·ning.
to transport or carry (freight, passengers, etc.) in a van.
verb (used without object), vanned, van·ning.
to travel in a van.

Origin of van

2
First recorded in 1820–30; short for caravan

Other definitions for van (3 of 5)

van3

or Van

[ van; Dutch vahn ]
/ væn; Dutch vɑn /

preposition
from; of (used in Dutch personal names, originally to indicate place of origin).

Origin of van

3
From Dutch

Other definitions for van (4 of 5)

van4
[ van ]
/ væn /

noun Archaic.
a bird's wing or tail, especially when fanned out, as in flight or as part of a mating display.

Origin of van

4
First recorded in 1400–50; late Middle English, variant of fan1

Other definitions for van (5 of 5)

Van
[ van; for 1, 2 also Turkish vahn ]
/ væn; for 1, 2 also Turkish vɑn /

noun
Lake, a salt lake in E Turkey. 1,454 sq. mi. (3,766 sq. km).
a town on this lake.
a male given name.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

How to use van in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for van (1 of 5)

van1
/ (væn) /

noun
a covered motor vehicle for transporting goods, etc, by road
British a closed railway wagon in which the guard travels, for transporting goods, mail, etc
British See delivery van

British Dictionary definitions for van (2 of 5)

van2
/ (væn) /

noun
short for vanguard

British Dictionary definitions for van (3 of 5)

van3
/ (væn) /

noun tennis, mainly British
short for advantage (def. 3) Usual US and Canadian word: ad

British Dictionary definitions for van (4 of 5)

van4
/ (væn) /

noun
any device for winnowing corn
an archaic or poetic word for wing

Word Origin for van

C17: variant of fan 1

British Dictionary definitions for van (5 of 5)

Van
/ (vɑːn) /

noun
a city in E Turkey, on Lake Van. Pop: 377 000 (2005 est)
Lake Van a salt lake in E Turkey, at an altitude of 1650 m (5400 ft): fed by melting snow and glaciers. Area: 3737 sq km (1433 sq miles)
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
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