One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1In early use: a space little obstructed by trees, buildings, etc.; a clearing. Later also: specifically a park, garden, etc., without buildings in the midst of an urban area; especially an area designated as such by a municipal authority, government, etc.
2In plural Large tracts of unpopulated or sparsely populated countryside. Chiefly in "wide (also great, vast) open spaces".
Late 17th century; earliest use found in Mary Pix (c1666–1709), playwright and novelist. From open + space.
open space/ˌəʊp(ə)n ˈspeɪs/
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