Definition of handspan in English:



  • The maximum distance between the tips of the thumb and little finger, taken as the basis of a measurement equal to 9 inches.

    ‘the boat was hardly more than a handspan above the waterline’
    • ‘Why is a large hand span a useful human adaptation?’
    • ‘‘That was Matthew's race,’ said Grobler after Pinsent, Cracknell, Coode and Williams had beaten the Canadians by a handspan.’
    • ‘A good rule of thumb when buying or constructing a flight cage for large parrots is that the width should be twice the wingspan, plus a handspan.’
    • ‘Ours are longer by a handspan, sometimes a hand's length.’
    • ‘Use your hand span to measure the distance around a tree trunk.’
    • ‘He held out an arm to show how the end of the sleeve hung two handspans below his knuckles.’
    • ‘The guard was also a few handspans thicker and had quite the menacing expression.’
    • ‘It's about a handspan as far as wings, it's orangey, and it has dark markings on its wings.’
    • ‘Lang's handspan covers 12 notes on the piano keyboard.’
    • ‘But what it didn't have in width, it had in height, being about three hundred handspans high filled to the brim with books.’
    • ‘He once again kept up the flow of meaningless but soothing chatter as his hands passed over every handspan of the glossy hide.’
    • ‘Well, we shall make them pay for every handspan.’
    • ‘The skull was almost a handspan wide, the pike's six rows of curving, pointed teeth distinct, as were the teeth that cover the upper surface of its tongue like barbs.’
    • ‘Eiji Sanjuro was about a handspan shorter than Gabriel, but was built like a bamboo stalk, tough, slender, and powerful.’
    • ‘It's body was partly obscured by two large wings, each as wide as Peter's handspan, which seemed to be a sort of dappled brown-yellow colour, speckled with rich blood reds and blackberry purples about the jagged edges.’
    • ‘Now, the elephant on your desk fits your fist with a handspan's room around, but is perhaps a thousand times as responsive as Engelbart's original, with a different function keyed to each finger and divided further by context.’