from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An enclosed boxlike motor vehicle having rear or side doors and side panels especially for transporting people.
  • n. A covered or enclosed truck or wagon often used for transporting goods or livestock.
  • n. Chiefly British A closed railroad car used for carrying baggage or freight.
  • transitive v. To transport by van: vanned the horses to the racetrack.
  • intransitive v. To drive or travel in a van: vanned around the country.
  • n. The vanguard; the forefront.
  • n. A wing.
  • n. Archaic A winnowing device, such as a fan.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A (covered) vehicle used for carrying goods or people, usually roughly cuboid in shape, longer and higher than a car but smaller than a truck
  • n. a railway carriage
  • n. shortened form of vanguard
  • n. shortened form of caravan
  • v. To transport in a van or similar vehicle (especially of horses).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The front of an army; the first line or leading column; also, the front line or foremost division of a fleet, either in sailing or in battle.
  • n. A shovel used in cleansing ore.
  • n. A light wagon, either covered or open, used by tradesmen and others for the transportation of goods.
  • n. A large covered wagon for moving furniture, etc., also for conveying wild beasts, etc., for exhibition.
  • n. A closed railway car for baggage. See the Note under Car, 2.
  • n. A fan or other contrivance, as a sieve, for winnowing grain.
  • n. A wing with which the air is beaten.
  • transitive v. To wash or cleanse, as a small portion of ore, on a shovel.
  • transitive v. To fan, or to cleanse by fanning; to winnow.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To winnow; fan.
  • In mining, to separate, as ore from veinstone, by washing it on the point of a shovel. See van, n., 2, and vanner.
  • To carry or transport in a van.
  • A shortened form of avant-.
  • n. The small store in a logging-camp in which clothing, tobacco, and medicine are kept, to supply the crew.
  • n. A fan or other contrivance for winnowing grain.
  • n. [⟨ van, verb] In mining, a test of the value of an ore, made by washing (vanning) a small quantity, after powdering it, on the point of a shovel. Vanning is to a Cornish miner what washing in the horn spoon is to the Mexican. See van, verb, 2.
  • n. A vane, as of a feather; hence, a wing.
  • n. The foremost division of an army on the march, or of a fleet when sailing; hence, by extension, the front of an army when in line of battle: opposed to rear.
  • n. The leaders of any movement in which many are engaged; the foremost individuals of any moving body; the front of any advancing body; the front generally: literally or figuratively.
  • n. Any large covered carriage; specifically, a large covered wagon used in moving furniture and household effects.
  • n. A kind of vehicle, sometimes covered and sometimes open, used by tradesmen and others for carrying light goods, etc.
  • n. A close carriage attached to a railway-train, for carrying passengers' luggage, for the accommodation of the guard, etc.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. (Great Britain) a closed railroad car that carries baggage or freight
  • n. a truck with an enclosed cargo space
  • n. the leading units moving at the head of an army
  • n. a camper equipped with living quarters
  • n. any creative group active in the innovation and application of new concepts and techniques in a given field (especially in the arts)


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Short for caravan.
Short for vanguard.
Middle English, from Old English fann and Old French van, both from Latin vannus; see wet-1 in Indo-European roots.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Short for caravan.



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