Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A fan-shaped anatomical structure.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A large fan used for religious ceremonies.
  • n. Any fan-shaped structure.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A fan; especially, the fan carried before the pope on state occasions, made in ostrich and peacock feathers.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A fan, used in the Greek and Armenian churches to drive away insects from the bread and wine during the celebration of the eucharist. Its ordinary use in the Roman Catholic Church ceased as early as the fourteenth century, but survives in the large fans, still known as flabella, carried by the attendants of the pope in processions on certain festivals. Also called flabrum.
  • n. In Crustacea, same as epipodite.
  • n.
  • n. In Actinozoa, a genus of aporose madreporarian corals, of the family Turbinoliidæ.
  • n. In ichthyology, specifically, same as serrula.

Etymologies

Latin flābellum, fan, diminutive of flābra, breeze, from flāre, to blow; see bhlē- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin flābellum "fan". (Wiktionary)

Examples

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Comments

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  • My understanding is that it is not currently used by the pope, although a ceremonial one is on display at the Vatican. :-)

    Another meaning: a fan-shaped anatomical structure, such as the one on the fifth legs of horseshoe crabs.

    October 7, 2008

  • A fan; especially, the fan carried before the pope on state occasions, made in ostrich and peacock feathers.

    October 7, 2008