• A hand-held device consisting of concertinaed material, or slats of material, gathered together at one end, that may be opened out into the shape of a sector of a circle and waved back and forth in order to move air towards oneself and cool oneself.
  • An electrical or mechanical device for moving air, used for cooling people, machinery, etc.
  • The action of fanning; agitation of the air.
  • Anything resembling a hand-held fan in shape, e.g., a peacock’s tail.
  • An instrument for winnowing grain, by moving which the grain is tossed and agitated, and the chaff is separated and blown away.
  • A small vane or sail, used to keep the large sails of a smock mill always in the direction of the wind.
  • A section of a tree having a finite number of branches
  • A person who is fond of something or someone, especially an admirer of a performer or aficionado of a sport.


  • To blow air on (something) by means of a fan (hand-held, mechanical or electrical) or otherwise.
  • To slap (a behind, especially).
  • To move or spread in multiple directions from one point, in the shape of a hand-held fan.
  • To dispel by waving a hand-held fan.
  • To perform a maneuver that involves flicking the top rear of an old-style gun.
  • To invigorate, like flames when fanned.
  • To winnow grain.
  • To apply (the air brake) many times in rapid succession.
  • To strike out.
  • To strike out (a batter).


Opposite words

Narrower meaning words

  • See :Category:en:Fans (people), for names of different fans or members of fan subcultures.


  • From Middle English fan, from Old English fann ("a winnowing, fan"), from Latin vannus ("fan for winnowing grain"), from Proto-Indo-European *h₂weh₁- ("to blow"). Cognate with
  • Latin ventus ("wind"), Dutch wan ("fan"), German Wanne, Swedish vanna ("a fan for winnowing"), Old English windwian ("to fan, winnow"). More at winnow.
  • , originally in US baseball slang. Possibly influenced by fancy, i.e. fancy boy.

Modern English dictionary

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