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spanner

[span-er] /ˈspæn ər/
noun
1.
a person or thing that spans.
2.
Also called spanner wrench. a wrench having a curved head with a hook or pin at one end for engaging notches or holes in collars, certain kinds of nuts, etc.
Compare pin wrench.
3.
Chiefly British. a wrench, especially one with fixed jaws.
Origin
1630-1640
1630-40; span1 + -er1
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for spanners'

spanner

/ˈspænə/
noun
1.
a steel hand tool with a handle carrying jaws or a hole of particular shape designed to grip a nut or bolt head
2.
(Brit, informal) a source of impediment or annoyance (esp in the phrase throw a spanner in the works)
Word Origin
C17: from German, from spannen to stretch, span1
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 spanners'

spanner

n.

1630s, a tool for winding the spring of a wheel-lock firearm, from German Spanner, from spannen (see span (v.)). Meaning "wrench" is from 1790. Figurative phrase spanner in the works attested from 1921 (Wodehouse).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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10
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