Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “van”


noun uk   /væn/ us  

van noun (VEHICLE)

B1 [C] a medium-sized road vehicle used especially for carrying goods, which often has no windows in the sides at the back half: a delivery van a Transit van a van driverTrucks, vans and caravans [C] US a medium-sized vehicle with windows all round, used for carrying more people than an ordinary carTrucks, vans and caravans

van noun (FRONT)

in the van of sth UK formal at the front, or in the most advanced position, of something: The US is in the van of the quest to establish contact with other planets.
See also
Describing the leading position
(Definition of van from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of van?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “van” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day


to throw or drop something carelessly

Word of the Day


Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More