Definition of inspan in English:



[WITH OBJECT]South African
  • 1 Yoke (draught animals, typically oxen) in a team to a vehicle:

    ‘Duma inspanned sixteen of his best cattle’
    • ‘The waentjies had functioning disselbooms, jukke and skeie complete with carefully cut riempies spantoue for inspanning the oxen.’
    1. 1.1 Harness an animal or animals to (a vehicle):
      ‘the farmer inspanned his wagon and returned to Maritzburg’
      • ‘He ordered the wagons to be inspanned, but left where they were, and refused requests to allow them to be laagered.’
      • ‘The Boers charged the hill four times, and were inspanning wagons preparatory to a retreat, when our men were forced to fall back owing to their reserve.’


Early 19th century: from Dutch inspannen to stretch, from in- in + spannen to span.