Definition of lance in English:

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Pronunciation: /lans/


1A long weapon for thrusting, having a wooden shaft and a pointed steel head, formerly used by a horseman in charging.
Example sentences
  • Around me were swords and arrows, lances and spears, weapons of all kinds, even ones I had never seen before.
  • Men of the armies fought with double-edged swords, battle-axes, lances, slings, and weapons of archery.
  • Seventy-five thousand horsemen armed with long lances came crashing out of the woods.
1.1A weapon resembling a lance used in hunting fish or whales.
Example sentences
  • He could sink that harpoon 3 feet into a whale and once fast it was not long before he was on the whale's back driving the lance 6 feet into its vitals.
  • Stubb takes after it in the process of pitchpoling; with a long lance, connected to a length of rope, he darts the whale, then pulls the lance back, and repeats the process.
  • The harpoon is a metal lance that is blasted out of the ship's harpoon gun by old-fashioned black powder.
1.2 another term for lancer (sense 1).
2 [usually with modifier] A metal pipe supplying a jet of oxygen to a furnace or to a hot flame for cutting.
Example sentences
  • Five basic processes are involved: oxy fuel gas cutting, metal powder cutting, chemical flux cutting, oxygen lance cutting, and oxygen arc cutting.
  • The specific areas of the sample selected for ablation are subjected to a burst of laser light, which acts like a microscopic thermal lance, to vaporise a tiny spot on the surface just 0.02 millimetre wide.
  • In the open hearth process an oxygen lance is arranged to blow large volumes of oxygen onto the molten metal in the hearth.
3A rigid tube at the end of a hose for pumping or spraying liquid.
Example sentences
  • This is one of those things where you drop a coin in the slot and then use a brush and a power spray, both on long lances attached to pressure hoses.
  • A pneumatically operated ball valve controls the flow of liquid nitrogen through each lance, and the entire process is sequenced from a pushbutton control panel.
  • He had borrowed the jet washer from his brother Alfred, who told the inquest he had modified it by replacing a plastic lance with a metal one.


[with object] Medicine
1Prick or cut open with a lancet or other sharp instrument: abscesses should not be lanced until there is a soft spot in the center figurative the governor made it one of his priorities to lance the boil of corruption
More example sentences
  • The pustule was lanced and cultured and subsequently grew Haemophihis species.
  • Suggested treatment for small, intact blisters is to remove the blister contents by needle aspiration or to lance the blister at its base but leave a pedicle of attachment.
  • Because supplies were scarce, doctors did not have anesthetic to numb this patient before lancing a boil that had been causing him problems for more than a year.
1.1Pierce with or as if with a lance: the teenager had been lanced by a wooden splinter [no object]: figurative his eyes lanced right through her
More example sentences
  • Slowly, stubbornly ignoring the excruciating pain that lanced my spine, I turned my face toward the wall.
  • There General Patton's American armour lanced its way into Nazi-held territory while the Brits fought a slower-paced battle into the Rhineland.
  • ‘Go ask the boy,’ you mutter, lancing Michael with a cold glare.
1.2 [no object] Move suddenly and quickly: pain lanced through her
More example sentences
  • Suddenly, red laser beams lanced out from underneath the window.
  • A buzzard dropped down to watch, a heavy twin-rotor helicopter thudded over, a jet lanced through, and a gamekeeper rolled past in a 4x4, that was the traffic for the day.
  • Carpenter motioned Matthew and Smith to enter first and they did so, their gun-mounted lights lancing through the remaining dust suspended in the dry, stale air of the passage.
1.3 literary Fling; launch: he affirms to have lanced darts at the sun
More example sentences
  • This is made evident by the fact that young Protestant girls from neighbouring schools also joined in the protest as they lanced verbal assaults at their Catholic peers.
  • The torpedo-boat lances one of her horrid needles of steel.
  • The lights have twinkled on in Lucern, spread below us, lancing golden shafts into the lake.


Middle English: from Old French lance (noun), lancier (verb), from Latin lancea (noun).

Words that rhyme with lance

advance, Afrikaans, à outrance, chance, dance, enhance, entrance, faience, France, glance, mischance, outdance, perchance, prance, Provence, stance, trance

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: lance

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