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

  • n. A device for creating a current of air or a breeze, especially:
  • n. A machine using an electric motor to rotate thin, rigid vanes in order to move air, as for cooling.
  • n. A collapsible, usually wedge-shaped device made of a light material such as silk, paper, or plastic.
  • n. A machine for winnowing.
  • n. Something resembling an open fan in shape: a peacock's fan.
  • transitive v. To move or cause a current of (air) with or as if with a fan.
  • transitive v. To direct a current of air or a breeze upon, especially in order to cool: fan one's face.
  • transitive v. To stir (something) up by or as if by fanning: fanned the flames in the fireplace; a troublemaker who fanned resentment among the staff.
  • transitive v. To open (something) out into the shape of a fan: The bird fanned its colorful tail.
  • transitive v. To fire (an automatic gun) in a continuous sweep by keeping one's finger on the trigger.
  • transitive v. To fire (a nonautomatic gun) rapidly by chopping the hammer with the palm.
  • transitive v. To winnow.
  • transitive v. Baseball To strike out (a batter).
  • intransitive v. To spread out like a fan: The troops fanned out from the beachhead.
  • intransitive v. Baseball To strike out.
  • n. An ardent devotee; an enthusiast.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. 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.
  • n. An electrical device for moving air, used for cooling people, machinery, etc.
  • n. Anything resembling a hand-held fan in shape, e.g., a peacock’s tail.
  • v. To blow air on (something) by means of a fan (hand-held, mechanical or electrical) or otherwise.
  • v. To slap (a behind, especially).
  • v. To move or spread in multiple directions from one point, in the shape of a hand-held fan.
  • n. An admirer or aficionado, especially of a sport or performer; someone who is fond of something or someone; an admirer.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An instrument used for producing artificial currents of air, by the wafting or revolving motion of a broad surface.
  • n. An instrument for cooling the person, made of feathers, paper, silk, etc., and often mounted on sticks all turning about the same pivot, so as when opened to radiate from the center and assume the figure of a section of a circle.
  • n. Any revolving vane or vanes used for producing currents of air, in winnowing grain, blowing a fire, ventilation, etc., or for checking rapid motion by the resistance of the air; a fan blower; a fan wheel.
  • n. An instrument for winnowing grain, by moving which the grain is tossed and agitated, and the chaff is separated and blown away.
  • n. Something in the form of a fan when spread, as a peacock's tail, a window, etc.
  • n. A small vane or sail, used to keep the large sails of a smock windmill always in the direction of the wind.
  • n. That which produces effects analogous to those of a fan, as in exciting a flame, etc.; that which inflames, heightens, or strengthens.
  • n. A quintain; -- from its form.
  • transitive v. To move as with a fan.
  • transitive v. To cool and refresh, by moving the air with a fan; to blow the air on the face of with a fan.
  • transitive v. To ventilate; to blow on; to affect by air put in motion.
  • transitive v. To winnow; to separate chaff from, and drive it away by a current of air.
  • transitive v. To excite or stir up to activity, as a fan excites a flame; to stimulate.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To cool and refresh, or affect in any way, by agitating the air with or as with a fan.
  • To move or agitate with or as with a fan.
  • To blow upon, literally or figuratively; excite, as fire, by means of a current of air.
  • To winnow; separate chaff from and drive it away by a current of air.
  • Figuratively, to produce effects upon analogous to those of a fan in exciting flame; excite; increase the activity or ardor of; stimulate; inflame: said of the passions and emotions, of plots, etc.: as, this fanned the flame of his love; he fanned the embers of rebellion.
  • To move, as if by the action of a fan or by fanning.
  • To assume a fanlike shape.
  • To “cool with a club”; club, as policemen sometimes club refractory prisoners.
  • To strike at something (as a base-ball) without hitting it; fan the air.
  • To strike out, as in base-ball.
  • n. The common name of instruments for producing agitation of the air by the movements of a broad surface, as of a wing or vane.
  • n. Any contrivance of vanes or flat disks, revolved by machinery or by hand, as for winnowing grain, cooling fluids, urging combustion, promoting ventilation, etc.
  • n. A small vane or sail used to keep the large sails of a windmill always in the direction of the wind.
  • n. An apparatus for regulating or checking, by the resistance of the air to its rapid motion, the velocity of light machinery, as in a musical box; a fly.
  • n. An apparatus, also called the fan-governor, for regulating the throttle-valve of a steam-engine.
  • n. In soapmanuf., a rotating paddle, so set that its blades skim closely over the surface of the boiling mass in the soap-copper. It serves to prevent the contents of the copper from boiling over.
  • n. Something resembling a fan when spread, as the wing of a bird, the tail of a peacock, etc.
  • n. In geology, an accumulation of debris brought down by a stream descending through a steep ravine and debouching in the plain beneath, where the detrital material spreads itself out in the shape of a fan, forming a section of a very low cone.
  • n. . A quintain.
  • n. Figuratively, any agency which excites to action or which stimulates the activity of a passion or an emotion, producing effects analogous to those of a fan in exciting flame: as, this was a fan to rebellion; a fan to love.
  • n. In Arthropoda, an appendage of the abdomen, as in the tail of Mysis, which may contain an auditory organ.
  • n. A measure of chaff, in Cambridgeshire, England, equal to 3 heaped bushels.
  • n. The flukes of a whale: a whalers'term.
  • n.
  • n. In projective geometry, one of the flat pencils which are determined by the sides of a polygram.
  • n. One who is very enthusiastic on the subject of athletic sports, especially base-ball; one who haunts base-ball grounds and base-ball games; a base-ball ‘fiend.’

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

  • v. strike out (a batter), (of a pitcher)
  • n. an enthusiastic devotee of sports
  • n. a device for creating a current of air by movement of a surface or surfaces
  • v. agitate the air
  • n. an ardent follower and admirer
  • v. separate the chaff from by using air currents
  • v. make (an emotion) fiercer


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

Middle English, winnowing fan, from Old English fann, from Latin vannus.
Short for fanatic.


  • *gibz cweenmj survints tu rubbings hur feetz n fan hur wif oztrich fevurs fan*

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  • "The whole word fan is short for fanatic," said Edward Hirt, professor of social psychology at Indiana University. News

  • The word fan is most simply defined as, an enthusiastic admirer.

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  • Such support is acceptable for sports -- the etymology of the word fan is a shortened version of fanatic -- but it is inadequate when such support is used to determine one's political allegiance.

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  • The dictionary states that fan is short for fanatic and is defined as "A person marked or motivated by an extreme, unreasoning enthusiasm, as for a cause."

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  • Rebecca MacKinnon, a journalism professor at the University of Hong Kong who studies the Chinese Internet, said that searches for the term fan qiang, or "climbing over the wall" -- shorthand for circumventing China's "Great Firewall" -- soared after news of Green Dam became public in early June.

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  • My new friend David Crosby, a serious Heinlein fan, is presently composing a tune for some lyrics in Chapter One called â⠂ ¬Å On The Way To The Stars.

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  • "And, well, who have ever heard the term fan-boys?" she asks.

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  • The other part about being a fan is that a fan is always an outsider.

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