From Middle High German gespan (“clasp; frame, welt”), from Old High German gespan (“clasp; chain, bracelet”), from Proto-Germanic *ga- *spannaną. Equivalent to ge- (collective prefix) + spannen (“to span, yoke”).
Cognate with Middle Dutch gespan (“clasp; pair; troup”), whence modern Dutch gespan, and Old English ġespan (“joining, fastening together; clasp; yoke”), whence probably modern English span (“pair of horses”). The original sense present in all of the old languages seems to be “clasp, device for joining”. The sense “people or animals joined together” apparently only since the 16th century in High German, but in Dutch at least since the 14th century.
- team (of yoked animals)
- a group of close partners, especially a pair of two
- horse and cart, horse and carriage; oxcart
- a caravan of connected vehicles
- (Switzerland) a lath framework
- (lath framework): Lattengerüst
- Alternative form of
- “Gespann” in Duden online