van


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in the van of (something)

At the forefront of something. The lieutenant who was in the van of the assault, leading a small party of machine-gunners to clear a path for the rest of the infantry. The senator had been in the van of the movement to equalize pay for all citizens since the late 1960s.
See also: of, van

white-van man

Someone who drives a nondescript white van for work, especially when driving in aggressive, reckless, or dangerous ways. Alludes to the perception of such drivers (typically male) being ignorant or rude. I used to cycle to work, but after nearly being knocked over three separate times by white-van men, I decided to start taking the bus.
See also: man

in the ˈvan

(British English, formal) at the front or in the leading position: The eight warships in the van opened fire on the advancing fleet.
See also: van

ˌwhite-ˈvan man

(British English, informal) used to refer to a man driving a white van in an aggressive way. Many companies use white delivery vans and their drivers are often considered stupid and rude: Who enjoys driving to work with the constant traffic jams, roadworks and the impatient hooting of white-van man?
See also: man
References in classic literature ?
van der Luyden continued, "that things had come to such a pass.
van der Luyden beamed on her with the smile of Esther interceding with Ahasuerus; but her husband raised a protesting hand.
van der Luyden took the air at all seasons had been seen at old Mrs.
Van Baerle was known to be fond of everything that pleases the eye.
In the evening, therefore, he placed a ladder against the partition wall between their gardens, and, looking into that of his neighbour Van Baerle, he convinced himself that the soil of a large square bed, which had formerly been occupied by different plants, was removed, and the ground disposed in beds of loam mixed with river mud (a combination which is particularly favourable to the tulip), and the whole surrounded by a border of turf to keep the soil in its place.
And thus it was not for the sake of painted tulips, but for real ones, that Van Baerle took from him half a degree of warmth.
And now if Van Baerle produced a new tulip, and named it the John de Witt, after having named one the Cornelius?
At this moment, anchor broken out and headsails running up, Captain Van Horn, whose quick eye had missed no detail of the incident, with an order to the black helmsman turned to applaud Jerry.
This was too much, and the black, afraid more of Van Horn than of Jerry, turned and fled for'ard, leaping to safety on top of the eight Lee-Enfield rifles that lay on top of the cabin skylight and that were guarded by one member of the boat's crew.
Van Horn confided to Borckman, as he bent to pat Jerry and give him due reward of praise.
He's a lion-dog--more like an Airedale than an Irish terrier," Van Horn went on to his mate, still petting.
Van Helsing stepped over and took the pieces from her.
At times she slept, and both Van Helsing and I noticed the difference in her, between sleeping and waking.
It is now nearly one o'clock, and he and Van Helsing are sitting with her.
I duly relieved Van Helsing in his watch over Lucy.