Definition of van noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//væn//
    ; NAmE NAmE//væn//
    Trains, Types of vehicle
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  1. 1   a covered vehicle with no side windows in its back half, usually smaller than a lorry/truck, used for carrying goods or people a furniture van a police van (= for carrying police officers or prisoners) a delivery van a van driver See related entries: Types of vehicle
  2. 2 (North American English) a covered vehicle with side windows, usually smaller than a lorry/truck, that can carry about twelve passengers
  3. 3 (British English) a closed coach/car on a train for carrying bags, cases, etc. or mail a luggage van See related entries: Trains
  4. Word Originnoun early 19th cent.: shortening of caravan.in the van. early 17th cent.: abbreviation of vanguard.Extra examples A TV news van was parked at the entrance. Each band had a tour van. a TV detector van going round the area A bomb had been planted in a parked van. A delivery van was almost blocking the narrow street. On election day they drove around town in a van with a loudspeaker on the roof. The gang robbed a mail van, seriously injuring one of the guards. The van’s interior was fitted with shelves. a mail/​luggage vanIdioms (British English, formal) at the front or in the leading position These artists felt themselves in the van of the movement, true pioneers.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: van