Middle English Dictionary Entry

spanne n.
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Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

1.
(a) A unit of length variously reckoned as corresponding to the distance from the tip of the thumb to the tip of the middle or the little finger when the hand is fully extended, a span, hand's breadth; a ~ brod (depe, long), one span broad (deep, long); ~ lengthe, a section of something one span long; also, in adverbial phrases: a (large) ~, to the distance of a (large) span; ben a large ~, to be a large span long; (b) with cardinal numbers and uninflected pl.: vii ~ long; iiii ~ in lengthe; of thre ~ lengthe, of two ~ of lengthe, in lengthe of a hundred ~; (c) a section of something one span in length; (d) in proverbs.
2.
A measure of great distance, ?a league.
3.
A measure of volume equivalent to that contained in two cupped hands.
4.
In place names [see Smith PNElem.2.135].