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See also: Spanner and spänner


English Wikipedia has an article on:
A set of metric spanners or wrenches, open at one end, box/ring at the other. These are commonly known as “combination” spanners.


span +‎ -er



spanner (plural spanners)

  1. (Australia, New Zealand, Britain, Ireland) A hand tool for adjusting nuts and bolts; a wrench.
    Pass me that spanner, Jake; there's just one more nut to screw in.
  2. (rare) One who, or that which, spans.
    • 1915, Florence Kiper Frank, The Jew to Jesus: and other poems:
      The scheme of the spanner of continents and the desire of the little husbandman hoarding for his loved ones...
  3. (weaponry) A hand tool shaped like a small crank handle, for winding the spring of a wheel lock on a musket.
    • 1786, Francis Grose, A Treatise on Ancient Armour and Weapons, Fig. 10., page xvi:
      The spanner for spanning or winding up the spring of the wheel lock.
  4. (obsolete) A device in early steam engines for moving the valves for the alternate admission and shutting off of the steam.
  5. (UK) A problem, dilemma or obstacle; something unexpected or troublesome (in the phrase spanner in the works)
    Halfway through the production of Macbeth, the director found that the stage was smaller than he expected. This really threw a spanner in the works.
  6. (Britain, Ireland, mildly derogatory) A stupid or unintelligent person; one prone to making mistakes, especially in language.
    You spanner, Rodney! I wanted some time, not a bunch of thyme!


  • (hand tool for nuts and bolts): wrench (US)

Derived terms[edit]


  • Japanese: スパナ (supana)
  • Malay: sepana


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


spanner (third-person singular simple present spanners, present participle spannering, simple past and past participle spannered)

  1. To use a spanner; to fix with a spanner