Meaning of SPACE in English


I. space 1 S1 W1 /speɪs/ BrE AmE noun

[ Date: 1200-1300 ; Language: Old French ; Origin: espace , from Latin spatium 'area, room, length of space or time' ]

1 . EMPTY AREA [uncountable] the amount of an area, room, container etc that is empty or available to be used

space for

There’s space for a table and two chairs.

How much space is there on each disk?

more/less/enough space

Now that we’ve got three kids, it’d be nice to have a bit more space.

space to do something

He had plenty of space to study.

The hedge takes up too much space.

sense/feeling of space (=the feeling that a place is large and empty, so you can move around easily)

In small homes, a single colour scheme can create a sense of space.

2 . AREA FOR PARTICULAR PURPOSE [uncountable and countable] an area, especially one used for a particular purpose:

a supermarket with 700 free parking spaces

storage/cupboard/shelf space

We really do need more storage space.

the factory’s floor space (=the size of the available floor area)

3 . BETWEEN THINGS [countable] an empty place between two things, or between two parts of something SYN gap

space between

the space between the house and the garage

There was an empty space where the flowers had been.

4 . OUTSIDE THE EARTH [uncountable] the area beyond the Earth where the stars and ↑ planet s are

in/into space

Who was the first American in space?

creatures from outer space (=far away in space)

space travel/research/programme/exploration

the history of space travel

5 . WHERE THINGS EXIST [uncountable] all of the area in which everything exists, and in which everything has a position or direction:

the exact point in space where two lines meet

how people of other cultures think about time and space

6 . TIME

a) in/within the space of something within a particular period of time:

Mandy had four children in the space of four years.

b) a short space of time a short period of time:

They achieved a lot in a short space of time.

7 . EMPTY LAND [uncountable and countable] land, or an area of land that has not been built on:

a pleasant town centre with plenty of open space

the wide open spaces of the prairies

the loss of green space in cities

8 . FREEDOM [uncountable] the freedom to do what you want or do things on your own, especially in a relationship with someone else:

We give each other space in our marriage.

She needed time and space to sort out her life.

9 . IN WRITING [countable]

a) an empty area between written or printed words, lines etc:

Leave a space after each number.

b) the width of a ↑ type d letter of the alphabet:

The word ‘the’ takes up three spaces.

c) a place provided for you to write your name or other information on a document, piece of paper etc:

Please write any comments in the space provided.

10 . IN A REPORT/BOOK [uncountable] the amount of space in a newspaper, magazine, or book that is used for a particular subject:

The story got very little space in the national newspapers.

11 . look/stare/gaze into space to look straight in front of you without looking at anything in particular, usually because you are thinking

⇨ ↑ breathing space , ↑ personal space , ⇨ waste of space at ↑ waste 1 (5), ⇨ watch this space at ↑ watch 1 (11)

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 3)

■ adjectives

▪ small

There was only a small space between the car and the wall.

▪ narrow

Nathan stood in the doorway, filling the narrow space.

▪ a confined/enclosed space (=small and enclosed)

It was difficult being together in such a confined space.

▪ an empty space

Another day we returned to find an empty space where the TV should have been.

▪ a blank space (=on a page, wall etc)

Write your refund request in the blank space on Line 9.

■ verbs

▪ clear/make a space

Jack cleared a space for his newspaper on the table.

▪ leave a space

Leave a space for the title at the top.

▪ fit in/into a space

Decide what kind of table and chairs will fit best into the space.

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 4)

■ adjectives

▪ outer space (=areas a long way from the Earth)

Meteorites are rocks from outer space.

▪ deep space (=areas a very long way from the Earth)

The probe will continue its journey into deep space.

■ space + NOUN

▪ space travel

What will space travel be like in the future?

▪ space exploration

They are developing robots that can be used for space exploration.

▪ space research

The institute is a world leader in space research.

▪ a space programme British English , a space program American English

This technology was originally developed by the American space program.

■ phrases

▪ the far/furthest/vast reaches of space (=the far, furthest etc areas of space)

Light takes time to travel across the vast reaches of space.

• • •


▪ hole an empty space in the surface of something, which sometimes goes all the way through it:

A fox had dug a hole under our fence.


Rain was coming in through a hole in the roof.

▪ space an empty area between two things, into which you can put something:

Are there any empty spaces on the bookshelf?


a parking space

▪ gap an empty area between two things or two parts of something, especially one that should not be there:

He has a gap between his two front teeth.


I squeezed through a gap in the hedge.

▪ opening a hole that something can pass through or that you can see through, especially at the entrance of something:

The train disappeared into the dark opening of the tunnel.


I looked through the narrow opening in the wall.

▪ leak a small hole where something has been damaged or broken that lets liquid or gas flow in or out:

a leak in the pipe


The plumber's coming to repair the leak.

▪ puncture especially British English a small hole in a tyre through which air escapes:

My bike's got a puncture.

▪ crack a very narrow space between two things or two parts of something:

The snake slid into a crack in the rock.


She was peering through the crack in the curtains.

▪ slot a straight narrow hole that you put a particular type of object into:

You have to put a coin in the slot before you dial the number.


A small disk fits into a slot in the camera.

▪ crater a round hole in the ground made by an explosion or by a large object hitting it hard:

a volcanic crater


The meteor left a crater over five miles wide.


the craters on the moon

II. space 2 BrE AmE ( also space out ) verb

1 . [transitive always + adverb/preposition] to arrange objects or events so that they have equal spaces or periods of time between them:

They used three microphones spaced several yards apart.

Try to space out your classes and study in between.

be evenly spaced (=with equal spaces)

For security, use three evenly spaced bolts per post.

2 . [intransitive] informal to stop paying attention and just look in front of you without thinking, especially because you are bored or have taken drugs:

I completely spaced out during the lecture.

⇨ ↑ spaced out

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.