Etymology
Advertisement
van (n.1)
"front part of an army or other advancing group," c. 1600, shortening of vanguard.
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
van (n.2)
"covered truck or wagon," 1829, shortening of caravan. Century Dictionary suggests this was perhaps regarded as *carry-van.
Related entries & more 
Van Allen 
name of radiation belts around the Earth (and certain other planets), 1959, from U.S. physicist James A. Van Allen (1914-2006), who reported them in 1958.
Related entries & more 
van de Graaff 
in reference to an electrostatic charge generator, 1934, named for U.S. physicist R.J. van de Graaff (1901-1967).
Related entries & more 
Rip Van Winkle 

"person out of touch with current conditions," 1829, the name of the character in Washington Irving's popular Catskills tale (published 1819) of the henpecked husband who sleeps enchanted for 20 years and finds the world has forgotten him.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
vandyke (n.)
"short, pointed beard," 1894, from the style shown on portraits by Flemish painter Anton Van Dyck (1599-1641); earlier "a type of collar with a deep cut edge" (1755) also from a style depicted in his paintings.
Related entries & more 
Roosevelt 

the presidential family in America originally bore the name Van Roosevelt, "of the field of roses," descriptive of their estates in Holland. Claes Martenszen Van Rosenvelt, emigrated to New Amsterdam 1649. His son (1653) and all his descendants dropped the "Van." Related: Rooseveltian.

Related entries & more 
nekton 

collective name for free-swimming aquatic creatures, 1893, from German nekton (van Heusen, 1890), from Greek nekton, neuter of nektos "swimming," from nekhein "to swim" (from PIE root *sna- "to swim"). Compare plankton.

Related entries & more 
Tasmania (n.)
1853, named for Dutch navigator Abel Tasman (1603-1659), who discovered it in 1642. It was called by him Van Diemen's Land for the Dutch governor-general of the East Indies. The Tasmanian devil so called at least since 1829, from its propensity for killing young lambs (other voracious fish or animals also have been named devil).
Related entries & more 
care-worm (n.)
a word listed in 2nd print edition OED, whose editors found it once, in the 1598 edition of W. Phillip's translation of John Huyghen van Linschoten's account of his voyage to the East Indies, and marked it "? error for EAREWORM." But care-worm could be a useful word.
Related entries & more