There are 4 main definitions of van in English:

van1

Line breaks: van

noun

1A covered motor vehicle, typically without side windows, used for transporting goods or people: he was arrested and placed in the back of a police van [as modifier]: a van driver
More example sentences
  • A team of nine scenes-of-crime officers were dispatched in a police van with blacked-out windows to search the couple's home last night.
  • The 23-year-old, who has not been named by police, was driving a sports car which hit a van on the wrong side of the road.
  • A spokesperson said two robbers approached the driver of a security van that was transporting the cash, forced him to the ground and tied his hands.
1.1British An enclosed railway vehicle for conveying luggage, mail, etc. [with modifier]: he had been watching the marshalling of the fish vans
More example sentences
  • This explains why Edwardian ladies had so much luggage, deposited in the baggage van by a team of railway porters.
  • In more recent years pooled cabooses for mainline trains meant only assigned local and branchline train crews kept their own van.
  • In later years a new coach shop was built at John Street and the West Toronto shops concentrated on freight and service equipment including rebuilding wooden vans.
1.2British A caravan.
More example sentences
  • Zoe is on the lookout for a place to stay, perhaps a van at the caravan park.
  • New legislation for holiday vans came into force in recent weeks covering arrangements in caravan parks where vans are left on site for regular recreational use.
  • The caravan park was crammed with campers, vans and tents.

Origin

early 19th century: shortening of caravan.

Definition of van in:

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There are 4 main definitions of van in English:

van2

Line breaks: van

noun

(the van)
1The foremost part of a group of people moving or preparing to move forwards, especially the foremost division of an advancing military force: in the van were the foremost chiefs and some of the warriors astride horses
More example sentences
  • It made little difference what rank others in the van might bear.
  • The men who they select from the whole force and station in the van are fleet of foot and fit admirably into cavalry action.
  • After an attack by crossbowmen and infantry, the van of the French cavalry charged impetuously through their own infantry across the stream and up the slope on the other side.
1.1The forefront: he was in the van of the movement to encourage the cultivation of wild flowers
More example sentences
  • As always the hospitality and courtesy of Mayo people in the Sportlann was early in evidence with Sean Feeney, John Prenty and May Moran leading the van.
  • Two economies have been strikingly in the van of this advance: the US and China.
  • The Australian dollar was again in the van last night, rising 0.6% against a broadly weaker US dollar.

Origin

early 17th century: abbreviation of vanguard.

Definition of van in:

There are 4 main definitions of van in English:

van3

Line breaks: van

noun

1 archaic A winnowing fan.
More example sentences
  • Nothing is more commonly found in the monuments of the heathen feasts than a small chest, a van, and a flute or a drum.
  • One golden crop has felt the winnowing van, another now is ready.
2 archaic or literary A bird’s wing.

Origin

late Middle English: dialect variant of fan1, probably reinforced by Old French van or Latin vannus.

Definition of van in:

There are 4 main definitions of van in English:

van4

Line breaks: van

noun

British Tennis
Informal term for advantage.

Origin

1920s: abbreviation.

Definition of van in: