From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Webster's Dictionary [1]

(1): ( imp.) of Spin

(2): imp. & p. p. of Spin.

(3): ( v. t.) To measure by the span of the hand with the fingers extended, or with the fingers encompassing the object; as, to span a space or distance; to span a cylinder.

(4): ( v. t.) To fetter, as a horse; to hobble.

(5): ( v. t.) To reach from one side of to the order; to stretch over as an arch.

(6): ( v. i.) To be matched, as horses.

(7): ( v. t.) The space from the thumb to the end of the little finger when extended; nine inches; eighth of a fathom.

(8): ( v. t.) The spread or extent of an arch between its abutments, or of a beam, girder, truss, roof, bridge, or the like, between its supports.

(9): ( v. t.) Hence, a small space or a brief portion of time.

(10): ( v. t.) A pair of horses or other animals driven together; usually, such a pair of horses when similar in color, form, and action.

(11): ( v. t.) A rope having its ends made fast so that a purchase can be hooked to the bight; also, a rope made fast in the center so that both ends can be used.

King James Dictionary [2]

SPAN, n. This word is formed on the root of bend, L. pando. The primary sense is to strain, stretch, extend, hence to join a team.

1. The space from the end of the thumb to the end of the little finger when extended nine inches the eighth of a fathom. 2. A short space of time. Life's but a span I'll every inch enjoy. 3. A span of horses, consists of two of nearly the same color, and otherwise nearly alike, which are usually harness side by side. The word signifies properly the same as yoke, when applied to horned cattle, from buckling or fastening together. But in America, span always implies resemblance in color at least it being an object of ambition with gentlemen and with teamters to unite two horses abreast that are alike. 4. In seamen's language, a small line or cord, the middle of which is attached to a stay.


1. To measure by the hand with the fingers extended, or with the fingers encompassing the object as, to span a space or distance to span a cylinder. 2. To measure. This soul doth span the world.

SPAN, To agree in color, or in color and size as, the horses span well. New England.

SPAN, pert. of spin. We now use spun.

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [3]

 Lamentations 2:20 , the distance from the extremity of the thumb to that of the little finger, when stretched apart; some nine inches.

Holman Bible Dictionary [4]

CubitWeights And Measures

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [5]

SPAN . See Weights and Measures.

Morrish Bible Dictionary [6]

See Weights And Measures

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [7]

( זֶרֶת , Zereth, according to the rabbins the Little Finger,  Exodus 28:16;  Exodus 39:9;  1 Samuel 17:4;  Isaiah 40:12;  Ezekiel 43:13; elsewhere some form of טָפִח , Taphach, To Spread upon the hands; hence to extend a Palm ' S breadth,  Isaiah 48:13; or carry in the arms,  Lamentations 2:20, "a span long"), a Hebrew measure of three hand breadths, or twelve finger breadths; apparently half a cubit (comp.  Exodus 25:10 with Josephus, Ant. 3 , 6, 5). (See Metrology).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [8]

( זרת , zereth  ; σπιθαμή , spithamḗ ): A measure of length equal to half a cubit or about 9 in. (  Exodus 28:16;  Exodus 39:9;  1 Samuel 17:4 , etc.).  Lamentations 2:20 the King James Version is a mistranslation; see the Revised Version (British and American). See Weights And Measures .