Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A fan-shaped anatomical structure.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun 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.
  • noun In Crustacea, same as epipodite.
  • noun In Actinozoa, a genus of aporose madreporarian corals, of the family Turbinoliidæ.
  • noun In ichthyology, specifically, same as serrula.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A large fan used for religious ceremonies.
  • noun botany, zoology Any fan-shaped structure.

Etymologies

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

[Latin flābellum, fan, diminutive of flābra, breeze, from flāre, to blow; see bhlē- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin flābellum "fan".

Examples

Comments

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

    October 7, 2008

  • 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