American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A wrench having a hook, hole, or pin at the end for meshing with a related device on another object.
- n. Chiefly British A wrench.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. One who or that which spans.
- n. An instrument for clasping and turning a nut on a screw, or for any similar purpose, as turning the wheel in cocking the old wheel-lock firearms, fastening and unfastening the couplings of fire-hose, etc.; a screw-key or screw-wrench. Spanners are made either with a hole to fit the shape of the nut, as square or hexagonal, or with movable jaws that can be tightened over a nut or a coupling of any shape.
- n. A cross-brace.
- n. In the parallel motion of a marine steam-engine, a rod which connects the jointed rods with the radius-bar; also, in some of the earlier engines, the hand-bar or lever by which the valves were moved for the admission and shutting off of the steam.
- n. A span-worm or looper.
- n. Australia, New Zealand, UK A hand tool for adjusting nuts and bolts.
- n. rare One who, or that which, spans.
- n. weaponry A hand tool shaped like a small crank handle, for winding the spring of a wheel lock on a musket.
- n. obsolete A device in early steam engines for moving the valves for the alternate admission and shutting off of the steam.
- n. UK A problem, dilemma or obstacle; something unexpected or troublesome (in the phrase spanner in the works)
- n. UK, mildly derogatory A stupid or unintelligent person; one prone to making mistakes, especially in language.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. One who, or that which, spans.
- n. obsolete The lock of a fusee or carbine; also, the fusee or carbine itself.
- n. Chiefly British usage An iron instrument having a jaw to fit a nut or the head of a bolt, and used as a lever to turn it with; a wrench; specifically, a wrench for unscrewing or tightening the couplings of hose.
- n. A contrivance in some of the earlier steam engines for moving the valves for the alternate admission and shutting off of the steam.
- n. a hand tool that is used to hold or twist a nut or bolt
- span + -er (Wiktionary)
- German, winding tool, from spannen, to stretch, from Middle High German, from Old High German spannan; see (s)pen- in Indo-European roots. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“A further one in 10 stated that a "spanner" was a term used to describe someone of limited intelligence.”
“Pakistan is the 'spanner' in the works -- as General Kayani might say.”
“Some kind of spanner or leatherman or something will be needed to unscrew the sparkplugs.”
“Do I care what kind of spanner my car mechanic uses?”
“I have tried, and each time I try I throw a spanner and that's that.”
“Could you come down here for a minute, he called over his shoulder as he finished up and replaced a spanner to its outlined space on the wall above his workbench.”
“The chief grabbed a spanner wrench and rapped on the Baychimoâ€ ™ s hatch three times.”
“That would throw a spanner in the works of what is possibly the most promising structural growth story in the world today.”
“All is set for the dotted-lining when, as the Brits say, there's spanner in the works.”
“OKAY. .dont want to burst any bubbles or perhaps throw a spanner in the xplodie, sexy line of writing.”
These user-created lists contain the word ‘spanner’.
Bore that meets the eye.
A very wide category. There are possibly tens of thousands tool words in each of the world's languages.
All these terms have a (different) American English equivalent. Wonder if you can identify them?
includes words of the "Prodcom list"
My big word list.
words pertaining to the root spe- (hope) with some allegorical liberties.
A list of words whose meanings I am learning, either because a) I don't know the meaning b) I know the meaning, but could stand to better appreciate certain inflections or secondary meanings or c) ...
Words and phrases from Chris Wooding's book, Storm Thief.
New-to-me words I learned from reading.
Looking for tweets for spanner.