- spanspan1 [span]n.[ME spanne < OE sponn, akin to Ger spanne < IE * (s)pen(d)-, to pull, draw (> SPIN, Gr span, to pull) < base * spe-, to pull, extend]1. a unit of linear measure equal to nine inches, based on the distance between the tips of the extended thumb and little finger2.a) the full amount or extent between any two limitsb) the distance between ends or supports [the span of an arch]c) the full duration (of) [span of attention, the span of a person's life]3. a part between two supports [a bridge of four spans]4. short for WINGSPAN☆ 5. [borrowed in U.S. < Du span, in same sense] a team of two animals used togethervt.spanned, spanning [ME spannen < OE spannan, join: see SPAN1 n.]1. to measure, esp. by the hand with the thumb and little finger extended2. to encircle with the hand or hands, in or as in measuring3. to extend, stretch, reach, or pass over or across [the bridge that spans the river]4. to furnish with something that extends or stretches over [to span an aisle with an arch]SYN.- PAIRspan2 [span]vt., vi.archaic pt. of SPIN
English World dictionary. V. Neufeldt. 2014.