space

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

From Anglo-Norman space, variant of espace, espas et al., and Old French spaze, variant of espace, from Latin spatium, from Proto-Indo-European ( > speed).

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

space (countable and uncountable, plural spaces)

  1. (heading) Of time.
    1. (now rare, archaic) Free time; leisure, opportunity. [from 14thc.]
    2. A specific (specified) period of time. [from 14thc.]
      • 1893, Mary Eleanor Wilkins Freeman, Giles Corey
        I pray you, sirs, to take some cheers the while I go for a moment's space to my poor afflicted child.
      • 2007, Andy Bull, The Guardian, 20 October:
        The match was lost, though, in the space of just twenty minutes or so.
      • 2011 September 29, Jon Smith, “Tottenham 3-1 Shamrock Rovers”, BBC Sport:
        But their lead lasted just 10 minutes before Roman Pavlyuchenko and Jermain Defoe both headed home in the space of two minutes to wrestle back control.
    3. An undefined period of time (without qualifier, especially a short period); a while. [from 15thc.]
  2. (heading) Unlimited or generalized physical extent.
    1. Distance between things. [from 14thc.]
      • c.1607, William Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra:
        But neere him, thy Angell / Becomes a feare: as being o're-powr'd, therefore / Make space enough betweene you.
      • 2001, Sam Wollaston, The Guardian, 3 November:
        Which means that for every car there was 10 years ago, there are now 40. Which means - and this is my own, not totally scientific, calculation - that the space between cars on the roads in 1991 was roughly 39 car lengths, because today there is no space at all.
    2. Physical extent across two or three dimensions; area, volume (sometimes for or to do something). [from 14thc.]
      • 1601, William Shakespeare, Hamlet, First Folio 1623
        O God, I could be bounded in a nutshell, and / count my selfe a King of infinite space; were it not that / I haue bad dreames.
      • 2007, Dominic Bradbury, The Guardian, 12 May:
        They also wanted a larger garden and more space for home working.
    3. Physical extent in all directions, seen as an attribute of the universe (now usually considered as a part of space-time), or a mathematical model of this. [from 17thc.]
      • 1656, Thomas Hobbes, Elements of Philosophy, II
        Space is the Phantasme of a Thing existing without the Mind simply.
      • 1880, Popular Science, August:
        These are not questions which can be decided by reference to our space intuitions, for our intuitions are confined to Euclidean space, and even there are insufficient, approximative.
      • 2007, Anushka Asthana & David Smith, The Observer, 15 April:
        The early results from Gravity Probe B, one of Nasa's most complicated satellites, confirmed yesterday 'to a precision of better than 1 per cent' the assertion Einstein made 90 years ago - that an object such as the Earth does indeed distort the fabric of space and time.
    4. The near-vacuum in which planets, stars and other celestial objects are situated; the universe beyond the earth's atmosphere. [from 17thc.]
      • 1901, HG Wells, The First Men in the Moon:
        After all, to go into outer space is not so much worse, if at all, than a polar expedition.
      • 2010, The Guardian, 9 August:
        The human race must colonise space within the next two centuries or it will become extinct, Stephen Hawking warned today.
    5. The physical and psychological area one needs within which to live or operate; personal freedom. [from 20thc.]
      • 1996, Linda Brodkey, Writing Permitted in Designated Areas Only:
        Around the time of my parents' divorce, I learned that reading could also give me space.
      • 2008, Jimmy Treigle, Walking on Water
        "I care about you Billy, whether you believe it or not; but right now I need my space."
  3. (heading) A bounded or specific physical extent.
    1. A (chiefly empty) area or volume with set limits or boundaries. [from 14thc.]
      • 1915, Emerson Hough, The Purchase Price, chapterII:
        Carried somehow, somewhither, for some reason, on these surging floods, were these travelers, []. Even such a boat as the Mount Vernon offered a total deck space so cramped as to leave secrecy or privacy well out of the question, even had the motley and democratic assemblage of passengers been disposed to accord either.
      • 2000, Ziba Mir-Hosseini, Islam and Gender
        The street door was open, and we entered a narrow space with washing facilities, curtained off from the courtyard.
      • 2012, Charlotte Higgins, The Guardian, 16 July:
        Converted from vast chambers beneath the old Bankside Power Station which once held a million gallons of oil, the new public areas consist of two large circular spaces for performances and film installations, plus a warren of smaller rooms.
    2. (music) A position on the staff or stave bounded by lines. [from 15thc.]
      • 1849, John Pyke Hullah, translating Guillaume Louis Bocquillon-Wilhem, Wilhelm's Method of Teaching Singing
        The note next above Sol is La; La, therefore, stands in the 2nd space; Si, on the 3rd line, &c.
      • 1990, Sammy Nzioki, Music Time
        The lines and spaces of the staff are named according to the first seven letters of the alphabet, that is, A B C D E F G.
    3. A gap in text between words, lines etc., or a digital character used to create such a gap. [from 16thc.]
      • 1992, Sam H Ham, Environmental Interpretation
        According to experts, a single line of text should rarely exceed about 50 characters (including letters and all the spaces between words).
      • 2005, Dr BR Kishore, Dynamic Business Letter Writing:
        It should be typed a space below the salutation : Dear Sir, Subject : Replacement of defective items.
    4. (letterpress typography) A piece of metal type used to separate words, cast lower than other type so as not to take ink, especially one that is narrower than one en (compare quad). [from 17thc.]
      • 1683, Joseph Moxon, Mechanick Exercises: Or, the Doctrine of Handy-Works. Applied to the art of Printing., v.2, pp.240–1:
        If it be only a Single Letter or two that drops, he thruſts the end of his Bodkin between every Letter of that Word, till he comes to a Space: and then perhaps by forcing thoſe Letters closer, he may have room to put in another Space or a Thin Space; which if he cannot do, and he finds the Space ſtand Looſe in the Form; he with the Point of his Bodkin picks the Space up and bows it a little; which bowing makes the Letters on each ſide of the Space keep their parallel diſtance; for by its Spring it thruſts the Letters that were cloſed with the end of the Bodkin to their adjunct Letters, that needed no cloſing.
      • 1979, Marshall Lee, Bookmaking, p.110:
        Horizontal spacing is further divided into multiples and fractions of the em. The multiples are called quads. The fractions are called spaces.
      • 2005, Phil Baines and Andrew Haslam, Type & Typography, 2nd ed., p.91:
        Other larger spaces – known as quads – were used to space out lines.
    5. A gap; an empty place. [from 17thc.]
      • 2004, Harry M Benshoff (ed.), Queer Cinéma
        Mainstream Hollywood would not cater to the taste for sexual sensation, which left a space for B-movies, including noir.
      • 2009, Barbara L. Lev, From Pink to Green
        A horizontal scar filled the space on her chest where her right breast used to be.
    6. (countable, mathematics) A generalized construct or set, the members of which have certain properties in common; often used in combination with the name of a particular mathematician. [from 20thc.]
      Functional analysis is best approached through a sound knowledge of Hilbert space theory.
    7. (geometry) A set of points, each of which is uniquely specified by a number (the dimensionality) of coordinates.
    8. (countable, figuratively) A marketplace for goods or services.
      innovation in the browser space

Quotations[edit]

Synonyms[edit]

  • (intervening contents of a volume): volume
  • (space occupied by or intended for a person or thing): room, volume
  • (area or volume of sufficient size to accommodate a person or thing): place, spot, volume
  • (area beyond the atmosphere of planets that consists of a vacuum): outer space
  • (gap between written characters): blank, gap, whitespace (graphic design)
  • (metal type): quad, quadrat
  • (set of points each uniquely specified by a set of coordinates):
  • (personal freedom to think or be oneself):
  • (state of mind one is in when daydreaming):
  • (generalized construct or set in mathematics):
  • (one of the five basic elements in Indian philosophy): ether

Derived terms[edit]

See also[edit]

Punctuation

Translations[edit]

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

Verb[edit]

space (third-person singular simple present spaces, present participle spacing, simple past and past participle spaced)

  1. (obsolete, intransitive) To roam, walk, wander.
    • 1596, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, IV.ii:
      But she as Fayes are wont, in priuie place / Did spend her dayes, and lov'd in forests wyld to space.
  2. (transitive) To set some distance apart.
    Faye had spaced the pots at 8-inch intervals on the windowsill.
    The cities are evenly spaced.
  3. To insert or utilise spaces in a written text.
    This paragraph seems badly spaced.
  4. (transitive) To eject into outer space, usually without a space suit.
    The captain spaced the traitors.

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

Related terms[edit]

Anagrams[edit]


Old French[edit]

Noun[edit]

space m (oblique plural spaces, nominative singular spaces, nominative plural space)

  1. alternative form of espace