span

Any distance between two things is called a span. These end points can be physical, like the span of a rope between two trees, or they can be more abstract, such as the span of time between five and six o'clock.

Span comes from the Old English spann, the width of the stretched-out hand, measured from thumb to little finger. It came to refer to various other measurements, such as the distance across an arch. The first reference to a length of time came in the late 16th century, and the phrase "attention span" first appeared in 1922 (as "span of attention").

Primary Meanings of span

1.
nv
the distance or interval between two points
cover or extend over an area or time period
2.
n
two items of the same kind
Full Definitions of span
1

n the distance or interval between two points

Type of:
distance
the property created by the space between two objects or points

n a structure that allows people or vehicles to cross an obstacle such as a river or canal or railway etc.

Synonyms:
bridge
Examples:
show 26 examples...
hide 26 examples...
Angostura Bridge
a suspension bridge across the Orinoco River at Ciudad Bolivar
Baton Rouge Bridge
a cantilever bridge across the Mississippi at Baton Rouge
Bayonne Bridge
a steel arch bridge connecting New Jersey and Staten Island at Bayonne, New Jersey
Benjamin Franklin Bridge
a suspension bridge across the Delaware River
Bosporus Bridge
a suspension bridge across the Bosporus at Istanbul
Bronx-Whitestone Bridge
a suspension bridge across the East River in New York City
Brooklyn Bridge
a suspension bridge across the East River in New York City; opened in 1883
Commodore John Barry Bridge
a cantilever bridge in Chester, Pennsylvania
Delaware Memorial Bridge
a suspension bridge across the Delaware River
George Washington Bridge
a suspension bridge across the Hudson River between New York and New Jersey
Golden Gate Bridge
a suspension bridge across the Golden Gate
Greater New Orleans Bridge
twin cantilever bridges across the Mississippi at New Orleans
Humber Bridge
a suspension bridge at Hull, England; 4,626 feet long
Kammon Strait Bridge
a suspension bridge between Kyushu and Honshu
Mackinac Bridge
a suspension bridge across the channel between the lower and upper peninsulas of Michigan
Minato Ohashi Bridge
cantilever bridge at Osaka, Japan
New River Gorge Bridge
a steel arch bridge across New River at Fayetteville, West Virginia
Pierre Laporte Bridge
a suspension bridge across the Saint Lawrence River at Quebec
Ponte 25 de Abril
a suspension bridge across the Tagus River at Lisbon
Quebec Bridge
a cantilever bridge in Quebec
Queensboro Bridge
a cantilever bridge across the East River between Manhattan and Queens
Sydney Harbor Bridge
a steel arch bridge in Sydney, Australia
Tacoma Narrows Bridge
a suspension bridge across Puget Sound at Tacoma
Tappan Zee Bridge
a cantilever bridge across the Hudson River
Verrazano-Narrows Bridge
a suspension bridge across the Verrazano Narrows between Brooklyn and Staten Island
Walt Whitman Bridge
a suspension bridge across the Delaware River
Types:
show 17 types...
hide 17 types...
Bailey bridge
a temporary bridge designed for rapid construction
cantilever bridge
bridge constructed of two cantilevers that meet in the middle
cattle grid, cattle guard
a bridge over a ditch consisting of parallel metal bars that allow pedestrians and vehicles to pass, but not cattle
covered bridge
a bridge whose passageway is protected by a roof and enclosing sides
drawbridge, lift bridge
a bridge that can be raised to block passage or to allow boats or ships to pass beneath it
footbridge, overcrossing, pedestrian bridge
a bridge designed for pedestrians
flyover, overpass
bridge formed by the upper level of a crossing of two highways at different levels
bateau bridge, floating bridge, pontoon bridge
a temporary bridge built over a series of pontoons
rope bridge
a bridge consisting of ropes
steel arch bridge
a steel bridge constructed in the form of an arch
suspension bridge
a bridge that has a roadway supported by cables that are anchored at both ends
toll bridge
a bridge where toll is charged for crossing
trestle bridge
a bridge supported by trestlework
truss bridge
a bridge supported by trusses
viaduct
bridge consisting of a series of arches supported by piers used to carry a road (or railroad) over a valley
gangboard, gangplank, gangway
a temporary bridge for getting on and off a vessel at dockside
jet bridge
an extendible bridge for loading passengers onto large commercial airplanes; provides protected access to the plane from the gate
Type of:
construction, structure
a thing constructed; a complex entity constructed of many parts

n a unit of length based on the width of the expanded human hand (usually taken as 9 inches)

Type of:
linear measure, linear unit
a unit of measurement of length

n the complete duration of something

“the job was finished in the span of an hour”
Types:
attention span
the length of time you can concentrate on some idea or activity
Type of:
continuance, duration
the period of time during which something continues

n the act of sitting or standing astride

Synonyms:
straddle
Type of:
motility, motion, move, movement
a change of position that does not entail a change of location

v cover or extend over an area or time period

“"Rivers traverse the valley floor", "The parking lot spans 3 acres”
“The novel spans three centuries”
Synonyms:
cross, sweep, traverse
Type of:
continue, cover, extend
span an interval of distance, space or time
2

n two items of the same kind

Synonyms:
brace, couple, couplet, distich, duad, duet, duo, dyad, pair, twain, twosome, yoke
Types:
doubleton
(bridge) a pair of playing cards that are the only cards in their suit in the hand dealt to a player
Type of:
2, II, deuce, two
the cardinal number that is the sum of one and one or a numeral representing this number

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.