[ skan ]
/ skæn /

verb (used with object), scanned, scan·ning.

verb (used without object), scanned, scan·ning.


Origin of scan

1350–1400; Middle English scannen, variant of *scanden < Late Latin scandere to scan verse, Latin: to climb (see ascend)

Related forms

scan·na·ble, adjectiveself-scanned, adjectiveun·scan·na·ble, adjectiveun·scanned, adjective

Can be confused

scam scan

Definition for scan (2 of 2) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for scan

British Dictionary definitions for scan


/ (skæn) /

verb scans, scanning or scanned


the act or an instance of scanning
  1. the examination of a part of the body by means of a scannera brain scan; ultrasound scan
  2. the image produced by a scanner

Derived Forms

scannable, adjective

Word Origin for scan

C14: from Late Latin scandere to scan (verse), from Latin: to climb
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

Medicine definitions for scan


[ skăn ]


To move a finely focused beam of light or electrons in a systematic pattern over a surface in order to reproduce or sense and subsequently transmit an image.
To examine a body or a body part with a CAT scanner or similar scanning apparatus.
To search stored computer data automatically for specific data.


The act or an instance of scanning.
Examination of a body or body part by a CAT scanner or similar scanning apparatus.
A picture or an image that is produced by this means.

Related forms

scanna•ble adj.scanner n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.