verb (used with object), fanned, fan·ning.
verb (used without object), fanned, fan·ning.
CAN YOU FEEL THE WEAL WITH THIS WORD OF THE DAY QUIZ?
Idioms for fan
Origin of fan1
OTHER WORDS FROM fanfan·like, adjectivefan·ner, nounun·fanned, adjective
Words nearby fan
Definition for fan (2 of 3)
Origin of fan2
Definition for fan (3 of 3)
noun, plural Fans, (especially collectively) Fan.
BEHIND THE WORD
Where does fan come from?
Is the word fan, as in a device with rotating blades, related in any way to a fan, as in an enthusiastic devotee? Whether in cooling a room or cheering for a team, both fans do move a lot of air, as it were. But no, these senses of fan come from very different—though equally fantastic—roots.
Fan, the device
Let’s start with fan in the sense of “any device for producing a current of air.” This fan is very old, recorded in English before 900. It comes from the Old English, fann, directly from the Latin vannus, a “winnowing basket.”
Winnowing basket? This calls for a lesson in agricultural history. A winnowing basket is a type of broad, shallow basket used to winnow, that is, to free grain from lighter particles of chaff, dirt, and the like. This can be done, as shown in the video below, by tossing the grain, allowing the wind or a forced current of air to blow away the chaff and any impurities.
A winnowing basket is what fan originally meant in English. The word fan expanded to refer to other kinds of devices used to blow away chaff. By association with the movement of air involved in winnowing, fan further expanded to name various devices for generating currents of air, especially for cooling and ventilation.
Fan, the devotee
Now, onto to that other fan, the kind that fills arenas for sporting and music events. This fan is “an enthusiastic devotee, follower, or admirer of a sport, pastime, celebrity, or similar.” It was shortened from fanatic, “a person with an extreme and uncritical enthusiasm or zeal, as in religion or politics.”
A fan is passionate, yes, but compared to a fanatic, the connotation of the word fan is generally much less extreme and uncritical. Fan was first recorded in American English around 1885–90. Early uses of fan refer to baseball die-hards before spreading to all sorts of other ardent followers.
The word fanatic has an interesting origin of its own. Entering English around 1515–25, fanatic derives from the Latin fānāticus, “pertaining to a temple.” Fānāticus came to refer to people seen as “frantic” and “enthusiastic”—people thought to be inspired by a divinity or orgiastic rites. Fānāticus is based on the noun fānum, “temple, sanctuary.” Discover more at profane.
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Example sentences from the Web for fan
Replying to a fan, she wrote, “Anthony Goldstein, Ravenclaw, Jewish wizard.”
It is the most animated this Downton Abbey fan has ever seen Lady Grantham.The Real-Life ‘Downton’ Millionairesses Who Changed Britain|Tim Teeman|December 31, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Ramos was a fervent Mets fan and he would often talk to the students about sports.
Or maybe the bespectacled ex-“Dear Leader” was just a really big South Park fan.Kim Jong Un, Avert Your Eyes: Sony’s ‘The Interview’ Gets the Porn Parody Treatment|Aurora Snow|December 20, 2014|DAILY BEAST
The announcement that this movie was happening was an interesting experience for a Whitney Houston fan.Inside the Lifetime Whitney Houston Movie’s Lesbian Lover Storyline|Kevin Fallon|December 16, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Fan looked at her and shrunk away as she approached, and then turned her eyes, dilating again with fear, towards the door.Fan|W.H. Hudson (AKA Henry Harford)
The man that marries my Fan has got to have sabe enough to round up a flock of goats—and wit enough to get up in the morning.They of the High Trails|Hamlin Garland
It needed but a breath to fan the flame to a terrible conflagration.Sustained honor|John R. Musick,
She too holds a fan, and wears a gown of rich brocade with bodice and sleeves thickly sown with pearls.Christina of Denmark, Duchess of Milan and Lorraine, 1522-1590|Julia Cartwright
Without a smile, she took the fan, and they heard some slight sound.Dorothy Dainty at the Mountains|Amy Brooks
British Dictionary definitions for fan (1 of 2)
- 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
- a machine that rotates such a device
- a kind of basket formerly used for winnowing grain
- a machine equipped with a fan for winnowing or cleaning grain
verb fans, fanning or fanned (mainly tr)
- to fire (an automatic gun) continuously by keeping the trigger depressed
- to fire (a nonautomatic gun) several times by repeatedly chopping back the hammer with the palm
Derived forms of fanfanlike, adjectivefanner, noun
Word Origin for fan
British Dictionary definitions for fan (2 of 2)
Word Origin for fan
Idioms and Phrases with fan
In addition to the idiom beginning with fan
- fan the flames
- shit will hit the fan