[ pan-keyk ]
/ ˈpænˌkeɪk /


a thin, flat cake of batter fried on both sides on a griddle or in a frying pan; griddlecake or flapjack.
Also called pan·cake land·ing. an airplane landing made by pancaking.

verb (used without object), pan·caked, pan·cak·ing.

(of an airplane or the like) to drop flat to the ground after leveling off a few feet above it.

verb (used with object), pan·caked, pan·cak·ing.

Informal. to flatten, especially as the result of a collision or other mishap: The car had been pancaked by the bus.
to cause (an airplane) to pancake.



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Origin of pancake

First recorded in 1400–50; late Middle English; see origin at pan1, cake

regional variation note for pancake

1. Pancake, hot cake, griddlecake, and flapjack, with its derived slapjack, are used interchangeably by many people, regardless of whether a pan or griddle is used for cooking, and each term is widely used throughout the U.S. Flannel cake, however, is confined chiefly to the North Midland U.S. and battercake to South Midland and Southern U.S. The following terms have limited regional use and may refer to flat cakes with different recipes or cooking methods: johnnycake, which is used in the Northeastern U.S.; corn cake in the Midland and Southern U.S.; and hoecake in the South Midland and Southern U.S.

Definition for pancake (2 of 2)

[ pan-keyk ]
/ ˈpænˌkeɪk /


a brand of cosmetic in a semimoist cake of compressed powder, usually applied with a moist sponge. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Example sentences from the Web for pancake

  • The roof broke under his greater weight, and he fell through on his master, squashing him flatter than a pan-cake.

    Fables For The Times|H. W. Phillips
  • After it had gone by, he tried his aim on an old green frog, and laid him out "flatter'n a pan-cake," as he said to himself.

  • The Ensign also mixed batter for pan cakes and established quite a reputation as a pan-cake maker.

    The War Romance of the Salvation Army|Evangeline Booth and Grace Livingston Hill

British Dictionary definitions for pancake

/ (ˈpænˌkeɪk) /


  1. a thin flat cake made from batter and fried on both sides, often served rolled and filled with a sweet or savoury mixture
  2. (as modifier)pancake mix
a Scot name for drop scone
a stick or flat cake of compressed make-up
Also called: pancake landing an aircraft landing made by levelling out a few feet from the ground and then dropping onto it


to cause (an aircraft) to make a pancake landing or (of an aircraft) to make a pancake landing
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

Idioms and Phrases with pancake


see flat as a pancake.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.