verb (used with object), fanned, fan·ning.

verb (used without object), fanned, fan·ning.

Nearby words

  1. famotidine,
  2. famous,
  3. famous last words,
  4. famously,
  5. famulus,
  6. fan base,
  7. fan belt,
  8. fan club,
  9. fan dance,
  10. fan delta


    hit the fan, Slang. to become suddenly more awkward, embarrassing, or troublesome: When news of the incident was leaked to the press, everything hit the fan at once.

Origin of fan

before 900; Middle English, Old English fann < Latin vannus winnowing basket

Related formsfan·like, adjectivefan·ner, nounun·fanned, adjective




an enthusiastic devotee, follower, or admirer of a sport, pastime, celebrity, etc.: a baseball fan; a great fan of Charlie Chaplin.

Origin of fan

1885–90, Americanism; short for fanatic


[fan, fahn]

noun, plural Fans, (especially collectively) Fan. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for fan

British Dictionary definitions for fan




  1. any device for creating a current of air by movement of a surface or number of surfaces, esp a rotating device consisting of a number of blades attached to a central hub
  2. a machine that rotates such a device
any of various hand-agitated devices for cooling onself, esp a collapsible semicircular series of flat segments of paper, ivory, etc
something shaped like such a fan, such as the tail of certain birds
  1. a kind of basket formerly used for winnowing grain
  2. a machine equipped with a fan for winnowing or cleaning grain

verb fans, fanning or fanned (mainly tr)

to cause a current of air, esp cool air, to blow upon, as by means of a fanto fan one's face
to agitate or move (air, smoke, etc) with or as if with a fan
to make fiercer, more ardent, etcfan one's passion
(also intr often foll by out) to spread out or cause to spread out in the shape of a fan
  1. to fire (an automatic gun) continuously by keeping the trigger depressed
  2. to fire (a nonautomatic gun) several times by repeatedly chopping back the hammer with the palm
to winnow (grain) by blowing the chaff away from it
Derived Formsfanlike, adjectivefanner, noun

Word Origin for fan

Old English fann, from Latin vannus


an ardent admirer of a pop star, film actor, football team, etc
a devotee of a sport, hobby, etc

Word Origin for fan

C17, re-formed C19: from fan (atic)

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for fan
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with fan


In addition to the idiom beginning with fan

  • fan the flames

also see:

  • shit will hit the fan
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.