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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.’
- 1.1British 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.’
- 1.2British A caravan.
wagon, covered cartmobile home, camper, caravanetteView synonyms
- ‘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.’
Early 19th century: shortening of caravan.
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 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.’
Early 17th century: abbreviation of vanguard.
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.
Late Middle English: dialect variant of fan, probably reinforced by Old French van or Latin vannus.
- informal term for advantage
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