Definition of inspan in English:


verbinspans, inspanning, inspanned

[with object]
  • 1South African Yoke (draught animals, typically oxen) in a team to a vehicle.

    ‘Duma inspanned sixteen of his best cattle’
    • ‘The waentjies had functioning disselbooms, jukke and skeie complete with carefully cut riempies spantoue for inspanning the oxen.’
    1. 1.1Harness an animal or animals to (a vehicle)
      ‘the farmer inspanned his wagon and returned to Maritzburg’
      • ‘The Boers charged the hill four times, and were inspanning wagons preparatory to a retreat, when our men were forced to fall back owing to their reserve.’
      • ‘He ordered the wagons to be inspanned, but left where they were, and refused requests to allow them to be laagered.’


Early 19th century from Dutch inspannen ‘to stretch’, from in- ‘in’ + spannen ‘to span’.