Definition of outspan in English:


Line breaks: out|span
Pronunciation: /ˈaʊtspan
South African

verb (outspans, outspanning, outspanned)

[with object]
  • 1Unharness (an animal) from a wagon: the wagons were drawn up beside the road and the oxen outspanned [no object]: they outspanned at the hotel
    More example sentences
    • We then outspanned for the night.
  • 1.1 [no object] Rest or camp at the side of the road while travelling by wagon: we used to outspan for five or six hours in the heat of the day
    More example sentences
    • I outspanned on what is now Market Square and let the oxen graze there whilst I walked up to where my Aunt lay ill in a tent.


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  • A place for grazing or camping on a wagon journey.
    More example sentences
    • The trekking routes and outspans - a term derived from unyoking a team of oxen - became major channels of communication into the interior.


early 19th century: from Dutch uitspannen 'unyoke'.

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