Main definitions of van in English

: van1van2van3van4

van1

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’
    • ‘As usual tens of riot police vans were waiting for them.’
    • ‘They dragged her outside and easily threw her into the bed of an unmarked dark blue van.’
    • ‘The following morning the gang were caught red handed loading the loot into a stolen transit van.’
    • ‘Police are hunting the van driver and have appealed for witnesses.’
    • ‘An armed attack on an armoured security van carrying thousands in cash was foiled by undercover police.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Trading standards officers spoke to two men in a builder's van.’
    • ‘He was hit by a car as he stepped out from behind a parked van.’
    • ‘As he passed the entrance of the church he heard a bump on the side of his van.’
    • ‘The windscreen of the van cracked and the side window shattered.’
    • ‘Security was such a concern that the seven defendants were taken to court in an armed convoy of armoured vans flanked by police motorcyclists.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A delivery van driver disturbed the burglar, but he escaped.’
    • ‘Just as they reached the bus stop, a stolen police van pulled up.’
    • ‘The drivers of both the van and car were injured.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The pickup driver then opened the driver's side of the van brandishing a handgun.’
    • ‘Betty May Hall was driving a white rental van, following her husband's red Toyota.’
    • ‘The van collided with a parked car after the collision.’
    • ‘A man wearing a balaclava approached an unoccupied parked van and fired two shots into it.’
    1. 1.1British An enclosed railway vehicle for conveying luggage, mail, etc.:
      [with modifier] ‘he had been watching the marshalling of the fish vans’
      • ‘This explains why Edwardian ladies had so much luggage, deposited in the baggage van by a team of railway porters.’
      • ‘Here the diesel engine that shunts the little guard's van turns tail and pulls them home.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In more recent years pooled cabooses for mainline trains meant only assigned local and branchline train crews kept their own van.’
      • ‘Goods of little value were removed from the guard's van.’
    2. 1.2British A caravan.
      • ‘The caravan park was crammed with campers, vans and tents.’
      • ‘Zoe is on the lookout for a place to stay, perhaps a van at the caravan park.’
      • ‘He knew of the caravan site, found two insecure unoccupied vans, slept there and took items of low value.’
      • ‘Caravanners have been warned to watch out for their vans after a spate of breaks-in at Bolton-le-Sands.’
      • ‘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.’
      wagon, covered cart
      mobile home, camper, caravanette
      View synonyms

Origin

Early 19th century: shortening of caravan.

Pronunciation:

van

/van/

Main definitions of van in English

: van1van2van3van4

van2

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’
    • ‘The chief had been in the van of the rushing throng.’
    • ‘The men who they select from the whole force and station in the van are fleet of foot and fit admirably into cavalry action.’
    • ‘It made little difference what rank others in the van might bear.’
    • ‘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. 1.1 The forefront:
      ‘he was in the van of the movement to encourage the cultivation of wild flowers’
      • ‘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.

Pronunciation:

van

/van/

Main definitions of van in English

: van1van2van3van4

van3

noun

archaic
  • 1A winnowing fan.

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

Origin

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

Pronunciation:

van

/van/

Main definitions of van in English

: van1van2van3van4

van4

noun

British
Tennis

Origin

1920s: abbreviation.

Pronunciation:

van

/van/