Definitions

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

  • n. A weathervane.
  • n. Any of several usually relatively thin, rigid, flat, or sometimes curved surfaces radially mounted along an axis, as a blade in a turbine or a sail on a windmill, that is turned by or used to turn a fluid.
  • n. The flattened, weblike part of a feather, consisting of a series of barbs on either side of the shaft.
  • n. The movable target on a leveling rod.
  • n. A sight on a quadrant or compass.
  • n. One of the metal guidance or stabilizing fins attached to the tail of a bomb or other missile.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A weather vane.
  • n. Any of several usually relatively thin, rigid, flat, or sometimes curved surfaces radially mounted along an axis, as a blade in a turbine or a sail on a windmill, that is turned by or used to turn a fluid.
  • n. The flattened, web-like part of a feather, consisting of a series of barbs on either side of the shaft.
  • n. A sight on a sextant or compass.
  • n. One of the metal guidance or stabilizing fins attached to the tail of a bomb or other missile.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A contrivance attached to some elevated object for the purpose of showing which way the wind blows; a weathercock. It is usually a plate or strip of metal, or slip of wood, often cut into some fanciful form, and placed upon a perpendicular axis around which it moves freely.
  • n. Any flat, extended surface attached to an axis and moved by the wind; ; hence, a similar fixture of any form moved in or by water, air, or other fluid.
  • n. The rhachis and web of a feather taken together.
  • n. One of the sights of a compass, quadrant, etc.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A flag or pennon.—
  • n. A weathercock; a device which is moved by the wind in such a manner as to show the wind's direction; a weathervane.
  • n. A device used on shipboard to answer the purpose of a weathercock: generally called dogvane.
  • n. A device similar to a weather-vane, attached to an axis, and having a surface exposed to a moving current, as in an anemometer or a water-meter.
  • n. In ornithology, the web of a feather on either side of the shaft; the pogonium; the vexillum. Also used of an arrow. See feather, and cuts under aftershaft and penciling.
  • n. One of the plates or blades of a windmill, a screw propeller, and the like. See cuts under screw propeller (under screw), and smoke-jack.
  • n. In surveying-instruments: A horizontal piece of wood or metal slipping on a levelingstaff.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. flat surface that rotates and pushes against air or water
  • n. the flattened weblike part of a feather consisting of a series of barbs on either side of the shaft
  • n. mechanical device attached to an elevated structure; rotates freely to show the direction of the wind
  • n. a fin attached to the tail of an arrow, bomb or missile in order to stabilize or guide it

Etymologies

Middle English fane, vane, from Old English fana, flag.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old English fana, from Proto-Germanic *fanô. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • My contribution in that "vane" is to express the hope that more Canadian companies will view the electricity building in the air as an exciting indicator of the numerous opportunities emerging for global business, and not of the static kind.

    Trading Up: Fair Trade in the New Global Economy

  • If the turning vane is not used, some of the air will get around the turn, but backpressure will be created, and the flow rate of the air will be reduced.

    It is very hot lakeside

  • Hence my bad pun about a sort of faith that is in "vane" - itself turned by the winds of time and changing worldview, and yet often without those who adamantly hold to it realizing the shift that has taken place.

    Archive 2009-04-01

  • y do u have 2 have him take Jesus name in vane though?

    DELUGE (Chapter Twelve) – Brian Keene

  • All our work on fighting for social justice and fighting poverty will have been in vane if we don’t stop climate change.

    2009 December 1 | Serendipity

  • There are times, as a veteran, that I feel that I faught in vane.

    Our money that does'nt say"United States of America"?

  • Glad you made the point about the UK being responsible for just 2% of emissions, any efforts we do make will be in vane.

    Questioning Climate Concensus

  • ` ` And, '' continued the girl with some asperity, ` ` if there is anything on earth that changes its mind as often as a weather-vane, that is less certain, less constant -- -- ''

    The Red Cross Girl

  • It is the fourth floor, just beneath this vane, that is the most interesting of all the new work, as it presents a complete and accurate picture of mediæval defences, showing both the wooden hoarding which projected beyond the walls in order to give space to hurl down stones and boiling lead, and the guard's chemin-de-ronde cut in the solid wall with its openings that communicate with each side.

    The Story of Rouen

  • The building has high pointed gables and mullioned windows, a tiled roof mellowed with age, and a finely wrought vane, which is a credit to the skill of the local blacksmith.

    Vanishing England

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  • This year a friend tethered a cinammon-infused broom decoration to the vanes of his solitary ceiling fan, turned the fan on, and called it a good Christmas.

    December 26, 2010