a. A thrusting weapon with a long wooden shaft and a sharp metal head.
b. A similar implement for spearing fish.
2. A cavalry lancer.
3. Medicine See lancet.
tr.v. lanced, lanc·ing, lanc·es
1. To pierce with a lance.
2. Medicine To make a surgical incision in; cut into: lance a boil.
[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin lancea, probably of Celtic origin.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.