span

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See also: Span, SPAN, spàn, spân, spãn, špan, and Spāņ

English[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English spanne, from Old English spann, from Proto-Germanic *spannō (span, handbreadth). Cognate with Dutch span, spanne, German Spanne. The sense “pair of horses” is probably from Old English ġespan, ġespann (a joining; a fastening together; clasp; yoke), from Proto-West Germanic [Term?]. Cognate with Dutch gespan, German Gespann.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

English Wikipedia has articles on:
Wikipedia

span (plural spans)

  1. The space from the thumb to the end of the little finger when extended; nine inches; an eighth of a fathom.
  2. (by extension) A small space or a brief portion of time.
    He has a short attention span and gets bored within minutes.
    • 1738, Alexander Pope, The Universal Prayer:
      Yet not to earth's contracted span / Thy goodness let me bound.
    • (Can we date this quote by Farquhar and provide title, author’s full name, and other details?)
      Life's but a span; I'll every inch enjoy.
    • 2007. Zerzan, John. Silence.
      The unsilent present is a time of evaporating attention spans,
  3. A portion of something by length; a subsequence.
    • 2004, Robert Harris, ‎Robert Warner, The Definitive Guide to SWT and JFace (page 759)
      For example, in OpenOffice.org or Microsoft Word, each span of text can have a style that defines key characteristics about the text: • What font it uses • Whether it's normal, bolded, italicized, []
  4. (architecture, construction) The spread or extent of an arch or between its abutments, or of a beam, girder, truss, roof, bridge, or the like, between supports.
  5. (architecture, construction) The length of a cable, wire, rope, chain between two consecutive supports.
  6. (nautical) A rope having its ends made fast so that a purchase can be hooked to the bight; also, a rope made fast in the center so that both ends can be used.
  7. (US, Canada) A pair of horses or other animals driven together; usually, such a pair of horses when similar in color, form, and action.
  8. (mathematics) The space of all linear combinations of something.
  9. (computing) The time required to execute a parallel algorithm on an infinite number of processors, i.e. the shortest distance across a directed acyclic graph representing the computation steps.
    • 2017, Ananya Kumar; Guy E. Blelloch; Robert Harper, “Parallel Functional Arrays”, in ACM SIGPLAN Notices, DOI:10.1145/3009837.3009869:
      We use the term span (also called depth, or dependence depth) to refer to the number of parallel steps assuming an unbounded number of processors.
Derived terms[edit]
Translations[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English spannen, from Old English spannan, from Proto-Germanic *spannaną (to stretch, span). Cognate with German spannen, Dutch spannen.

Pronunciation[edit]

Verb[edit]

span (third-person singular simple present spans, present participle spanning, simple past and past participle spanned)

  1. (transitive) To extend through the distance between or across.
    The suspension bridge spanned the canyon.
    • (Can we date this quote by Prescott and provide title, author’s full name, and other details?)
      The rivers were spanned by arches of solid masonry.
  2. (transitive) To extend through (a time period).
    The parking lot spans three acres.
    The novel spans three centuries.
  3. (transitive) To measure by the span of the hand with the fingers extended, or with the fingers encompassing the object.
    to span a space or distance; to span a cylinder
    • Bible, Isa. xiviii. 13
      My right hand hath spanned the heavens.
  4. (mathematics) To generate an entire space by means of linear combinations.
  5. (intransitive, US, dated) To be matched, as horses.
  6. (transitive) To fetter, as a horse; to hobble.
Translations[edit]

Etymology 3[edit]

From Middle English span, from Old English spann, from Proto-Germanic *spann, first and third person singular preterit indicative of Proto-Germanic *spinnaną (to spin).

Pronunciation[edit]

Verb[edit]

span

  1. (archaic, nonstandard) simple past tense of spin
    • 1891, H[enry] Rider Haggard, “How Hall of Lithdale Took Tidings to Iceland”, in Eric Brighteyes, 2nd edition, London: Longmans, Green, and Co., OCLC 935241280, page 204:
      So they went in to where Gudruda sat spinning in the hall, singing as she span.
    • 2014 September 29, Reuters, “Five spectators in critical condition following stunt truck accident”, in Irish Independent[1], archived from the original on 11 March 2016:
      Five spectators remained in critical condition on Monday, a day after they were injured when a giant pick-up truck span out of control during a stunt show in a Dutch town, killing three people, local officials said.

Anagrams[edit]


Dutch[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From older gespan.

Noun[edit]

span n (plural spannen, diminutive spannetje n)

  1. A span, a team (pair or larger team of draught animals). [from 17th c.]
  2. A cart or instrument with a team of draught animals. [from 18th c.]
  3. A romantic pair, couple. [from 19th c.]
Derived terms[edit]
Descendants[edit]
  • Afrikaans: span

Etymology 2[edit]

See the etymology of the main entry.

Verb[edit]

span

  1. first-person singular present indicative of spannen
  2. imperative of spannen

Anagrams[edit]


Middle English[edit]

Noun[edit]

span

  1. Alternative form of spanne

Sranan Tongo[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Borrowed from Dutch gespannen.

Noun[edit]

span

  1. tense

West Frisian[edit]

Etymology[edit]

(This etymology is missing or incomplete. Please add to it, or discuss it at the Etymology scriptorium.)

Noun[edit]

span n (plural spannen, diminutive spantsje)

  1. span, team (pair of draught animals in a team)
  2. pair, couple

Further reading[edit]

  • span (I)”, in Wurdboek fan de Fryske taal (in Dutch), 2011