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[ik-spans] /ɪkˈspæns/
an uninterrupted space or area; a wide extent of anything:
an expanse of water.
something that is spread out, especially over a relatively large area:
that great expanse, the sky.
expansion; extension:
the wide expanse of scientific knowledge.
Origin of expanse
1660-70; < New Latin expānsum, noun use of neuter of Latin expānsus, past participle of expandere to expand
1. sweep, reach, range, stretch. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for expanse
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • As a well-sharpened arrow swiftly to a distance flies, thus do thou, O Cough, fly along the expanse of the earth!

  • And as he swung it, Shann held it out over the expanse of the table.

    Storm Over Warlock Andre Norton
  • Beyond an expanse of shining pavement the great black Abbey towered amidst the storm.

    A Duet Arthur Conan Doyle
  • The grass was like an expanse of gold, and below her the valley swam in golden mist.

    Heidi Johanna Spyri
  • To an eye above them their two faces would have appeared amid the expanse like two pearls on a table of ebony.

    Return of the Native Thomas Hardy
  • The expanse of foliage was surging in the wind like the waves of the sea.

    The Young Mountaineers Charles Egbert Craddock
  • Then he sauntered on and surveyed the expanse of mill lawn with appraising and envious gaze.

    The Landloper Holman Day
  • Could any way be found to cross the expanse that lay between them and the flagship?

    A Prisoner of Morro Upton Sinclair
British Dictionary definitions for expanse


an uninterrupted surface of something that spreads or extends, esp over a wide area; stretch: an expanse of water
expansion or extension
Word Origin
C17: from New Latin expansum the heavens, from Latin expansus spread out, from expandere to expand
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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Word Origin and History for expanse

1660s, from Latin expansum, noun use of neuter of expansus, past participle of expandere (see expand).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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