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 ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.