Definition: Space

From New World Encyclopedia


From Middle English space, from Anglo-Norman space, variant of espace, espas et al., and spaze, variant of espace, from Latin spatium, from Proto-Indo-European *(s)pehâ‚‚- (to stretch, to pull).


space (countable and uncountable, plural spaces)

  1. (heading) Of time.
    1. A specific specified period of time.
    2. An undefined period of time (without qualifier, especially a short period); a while.
  2. (heading) Unlimited or generalized extent, physical or otherwise.
    1. Distance between things.
    2. Physical extent across two or three dimensions (sometimes for or to do something).
    3. Physical extent in all directions, seen as an attribute of the universe (now usually considered as a part of space-time), or a mathematical model of this.
    4. The near-vacuum in which planets, stars, and other celestial objects are situated; the universe beyond the earth's atmosphere.
      the first man in space
    5. The physical and psychological area one needs within which to live or operate; personal freedom.
  3. (heading) A bounded or specific extent, physical or otherwise.
    1. A (chiefly empty) area or volume with set limits or boundaries.
    2. In music, a position on the staff or stave bounded by lines.
    3. A gap in text between words, lines etc., or a digital character used to create such a gap.
  4. A piece of metal type used to separate words, cast lower than other type so as not to take ink, especially one that is narrower than one en.
  5. A gap; an empty place.
  6. A set of points, each of which is uniquely specified by a number (the dimensionality) of coordinates.
  7. A generalized construct or set whose members have some property in common; typically there will be a geometric metaphor allowing these members to be viewed as "points". Often used with a restricting modifier describing the members (e.g. vector space), or indicating the inventor of the construct (e.g. Hilbert space).
  8. A field, area, or sphere of activity or endeavor.
  9. Anything analogous to a physical space in which one can interact, such as an online chat room.

Derived terms


space (third-person singular simple present spaces, present participle spacing, simple past and past participle spaced)

  1. (transitive) To set some distance apart.
    The cities are evenly spaced.
  2. To insert or utilize spaces in a written text.
    This paragraph seems badly spaced.
  3. (transitive) In science fiction, to eject into outer space, usually without a space suit.
  4. (intransitive) In science fiction, to travel into and through outer space.

Derived terms

  • spaced
  • spaced-out
  • spacial


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