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 one who drives in an aggressive, reckless, or dangerous way. Alludes to the perception that such drivers (typically male) are 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." He paused, and looked at his wife again.
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.
The law was for Van Baerle, and Boxtel had to abide by it.
He therefore felt almost grateful to Cornelius van Baerle for having given him a screen gratis.
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.
Again, while Captain Van Horn and the mate, Borckman, gave orders, and while the Arangi's mainsail and spanker began to rise up the masts, Jerry loosed all his heart of woe in what Bob told Derby on the beach was the "grandest vocal effort" he had ever heard from any dog, and that, except for being a bit thin, Caruso didn't have anything on Jerry.
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.
When she woke late in the afternoon, Lucy's first movement was to feel in her breast, and to my surprise, produced the paper which Van Helsing had given me to read.
Van Helsing put out his hand and took the paper, saying,
Westenra was dead, that Lucy also had been ill, but was now going on better, and that Van Helsing and I were with her.
"I take it that both you and Van Helsing had done already what I did today.