inspan, verb

enspan, inspandShow more Also enspan, inspand, inspann.
Cf. outspan verb.
a. intransitive. To prepare for a journey (by harnessing draught animals to a vehicle); to span in, see span verb sense 2 b.
1827 G. Thompson Trav. 86A storm of snow and hail raging.., we delayed inspanning till it had blown past.
1834 T.H. Bowker Journal. 27 Dec.Inspan for the Church, return with Merai to his place for his Cattle and horses, and sheep.
1838 J.E. Alexander Exped. into Int. I. 179On inspanning we had a battle with a young ox, which would not submit its neck to the yoke.
1838 T. Shone Diary. 18 JulyInspan’d for town. Call’d at Jolly’s Canteen.
1839 J. Collett Accounts. II. 14 Feb.Inspanned about midday and rode on to the Field Cornet Ans Delange.
1851 R. Gray Jrnls of Two Visitations II. 88We were just in-spanning in the morning, and I had settled with Mr. Shepstone that he should not go on further with us.
1860 D.L.W. Stainbank Diary. (Killie Campbell Africana Library KCM8680) 12 JuneWe inspanned and started at sunrise crossing the Amanzimtoti about breakfast time.
1871 E.J. Dugmore Diary. 27 Nov.As we were preparing to inspan this afternoon my brother came.
1881 E. London Dispatch 15 Jan. 3Inspanning at daybreak, we again started, but after driving about for some hours across country I told the escort we would stop where we were.
1893 F.C. Selous Trav. & Adventure 93I determined to inspan and hold on my course to the south.
1896 R. Wallace Farming Indust. of Cape Col. 269The practice is to inspan an hour before sunset, and to go on till say eleven o’clock, then outspan for a few hours, tying up the cattle in the yoke where they lie.
1901 P.J. Du Toit Diary (1974) 30The English are moving down to Klerksdorp from Lichtenburg and have already had a skirmish with result one killed and two wounded. Inspan and off. Artillery, horsemen, waggons, cattle, carts every living thing is being got out of the way.
1915 D. Fairbridge Torch Bearer 202Not another half-hour do we stop by this place. Tell Koos to inspan. I will pack at once.
c1936 S. & E. Afr. Yr Bk & Guide 36Inspan — to harness, to start.
1938 F.C. Slater Trek 18Now must we inspan and up-saddle, Saddle-up, inspan and travel afar, For aloft in the East is the morning-star!
1976 V. Rosenberg Sunflower 13After the last Sunday service the farmers would inspan and disappear in different direction, leaving no trace behind them but their wagon tracks and a littered market place.
b. transitive. To yoke or harness (draught animals) to a vehicle; to ready (a vehicle) for travel by harnessing draught animals to it; transferred sense, to make (oneself) ready for a journey; to couple (a tractor or other towing vehicle) to a trailer; span verb sense 1 b; to span in, see span verb sense 2 a.
1834 T.H. Bowker Journal. 25 Dec.Arrive at [M]erais after sunset find the waggons inspanned ready for going away.
1835 A. Steedman Wanderings I. 126The oxen which we had engaged made their appearance, and were immediately inspanned.
1838 T. Shone Diary. 8 Oct.We enspan’d the Oxen and draged a bush to Town.
1849 N.J. Merriman Cape Jrnls (1957) 68Mr Heugh, one of the churchwardens, kindly inspanned his mules and proposed taking me the first 15 or 20 miles of my long journey to Colesburg.
1852 Blackwood’s Mag. (U.K.) LXXI. 294(Cape Colony) At noon, the cattle, which have been turned out to graze, are ‘inspanned’, and the march continues.
1871 Jno in A.M.L. Robinson Sel. Articles from Cape Monthly Mag. (1978) 129We directed our coachman to ‘inspan’ the horses.
1883 O.E.A. Schreiner Story of Afr. Farm 276Gregory carried her out in his arms to the waggon which stood ‘inspanned’ before the door.
1887 A.A. Anderson 25 Yrs in Waggon II. 122It was arranged to inspann the waggon, and bring it round the best way we could through the forest to as near the dead giraffe as possible.
1895 A.B. Balfour 1200 Miles in Waggon 74Our oxen were inspanned (harnessed) about 6 p.m., and we all walked behind.
1900 A.W. Carter Informant, Ladybrand 8 Feb.I had the spider inspanned and went forth.
1911 L. Cohen Reminisc. of Kimberley 100They inspanned horses to Rossmore’s cape cart, and away the three jolly souls went.
1934 B.I. Buchanan Pioneer Days 90The farmer forthwith inspanned his wagon and returned to Maritzburg.
1955 A. Delius Young Trav. in S. Afr. 141The two white boys helped Charlie and an older inspan a team of oxen for the early ploughing.
1962 F.C. Metrowich Scotty Smith 27A party of four Boers with their wives and families were trekking and had stopped for the night. When Scotty joined them they were already inspanned and ready to move.
1975 Sunday Times 10 Aug. 7She need not be clever, but she must know how to inspan a team of donkeys.
1986 S. Afr. Panorama Feb. 14The history of South Africa is the history of its people; people who did not hesitate to load their wagon, inspan their oxen and trek when circumstances at the Cape no longer suited them.
1991 F. le Roux in S. Afr. Panorama Jan.Feb. 83A sturdy and powerful tractor was ‘inspanned’ to pull the trailer.
2. transitive. figurative. To enlist the help of (someone); to ‘round (someone) up’; to make use of (resources); to span in, see span verb sense 2 c.
1883 E.L. Price Letter. 25 JuneI think I must inspan him tomorrow to bake me a loaf of bread for he knows how to do it.
1900 E. Ross Diary of Siege of Mafeking (1980) 101They did not lose much time in inspanning me at my new redoubt, for I had no sooner arrived there..than I was ordered to do sentry-go.
1914 R. Kipling in Geog. Jrnl Apr. 373One man, apparently without effort, inspans the human equivalent of ‘three blind ’uns and a bolter’ and makes them do miracles.
1925 D. Kidd Essential Kafir 324The gathering-in of the harvest is a great event, and all hands are ‘in-spanned’ for it.
1937 C.R. Prance Tante Rebella’s Saga 176As it was all in English the schoolmistress was inspanned to translate it viva-voce for the edification of the crowd.
1949 Cape Times 13 Sept. 8To rescue the Coloured man, all forces will have to be inspanned to raise him economically.
1955 W. Illsley Wagon on Fire 80The Bantu Worker’s Christian Union will inspan every worker, young or old, male or female.
c1966 J. Hobbs in New S. Afr. Writing 161The one successful farmer works like a slave for five months of the year, toiling from before dawn till well into the night with teams of relatives inspanned to pack.
1971 J. Frye War of Axe p.xHe had been trained as a printer early in life, and in the completion of his task he had to inspan all of his talents.
1972 E. Prov. Herald 12 Aug. 8The UP did not inspan the party machine but the NP’s public representatives were not shy in working openly in some wards for the people they favoured.
1980 S. Afr. Panorama Dec. 46It awaited only the courage and ingenuity of the pioneers to inspan these natural resources in the service of civilisation.
1981 Daily Dispatch 8 June 11Nationalist newspapers have suggested that some senior SABC officials are blocking attempts to inspan the Corporation in support of Mr P.W. Botha’s reform programme.
1990 M. Kentridge Unofficial War 166Vlok..scoffed at the efforts of clergymen involved in peace initiatives, and said they had been ‘inspanned by the ANC-SACP to do their devilish work’.
To prepare for a journey (by harnessing draught animals to a vehicle); to span in, see spanverb2 b.
To yoke or harness (draught animals) to a vehicle; to ready (a vehicle) for travel by harnessing draught animals to it; transferred sense, to make (oneself) ready for a journey; to couple (a tractor or other towing vehicle) to a trailer; spanverb1 b; to span in, see spanverb2 a.
To enlist the help of (someone); to ‘round (someone) up’; to make use of (resources); to span in, see spanverb2 c.
Hence inspan noun  obsolete, and inspanning verbal noun, the preparations for a journey, especially the harnessing of draught animals to vehicles; also attributive.
1849 E.D.H.E. Napier Excursions in Sn Afr. II. 12A ‘spann’ means, I believe, in Dutch, a team of oxen, or other draught animals; hence the terms ‘inspanning’ and ‘outspanning,’ or yoking and unyoking.
1871 J. McKay Reminisc. 161We passed the night, drinking coffee and telling yarns until the reveille sounded, and the ‘inspan’ followed, reminding us of our day’s duty.
1876 T. Stubbs Reminiscences. 19A large bush was fastened to the end of a stout rope which was to answer for a trek tow and yokes fastened on, the inspanning commenced.
1879 R.J. Atcherley Trip to Boërland 62I had been sound asleep at the time of inspanning.
1879 R.J. Atcherley Trip to Boërland 68We managed to get along until next morning’s sunrise and inspan.
1882 Meteor 27 Nov. 4Inspanning and saddling up was now the order and thus ended the pleasantest day’s outing yours truly has had at a cricket match.
1887 H. Rider Haggard Jess p.ixJohn see the inspanning of the Cape cart.
1891 W. Selwyn Cape Carols 3The ‘inspanning’ finished Jack shoulders his rifle.
1925 L.D. Flemming Crop of Chaff 3The two oxen that the boy went to fetch last week come up at a briskish walk..and then — inspanning begins.
1934 B.I. Buchanan Pioneer Days 31This was the first time that we saw the inspanning, and we watched the novel performance with keen interest.
1949 L.G. Green In Land of Afternoon 132Driving a team of mules is not so easily learnt as the control of a motor-car. Inspanning and outspanning are often difficult.
1968 K. McMagh Dinner of Herbs 79We watched the inspanning with amazement and wondered how any human being could sort out the tangle of harness lying on the ground.
1977 F.G. Butler Karoo Morning 11She expressed a keen longing to experience a trek by oxwagon — the whole slow ritual of inspanning and outspanning, of moving over vast spaces.
1986 S. Afr. Panorama Feb. 16Seldom before have oxen been the cause of so much interest with everyone in the camp taking a close look at the inspanning process.
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