• synonyms


  1. weather vane.
  2. a blade, plate, sail, etc., in the wheel of a windmill, to be moved by the air.
  3. any of a number of blades or plates attached radially to a rotating drum or cylinder, as in a turbine or pump, that move or are moved by a fluid, as steam, water, hot gases, or air.
  4. a person who is readily changeable or fickle.
  5. Aerospace.
    1. any fixed or movable plane surface on the outside of a rocket providing directional control while the rocket is within the atmosphere.
    2. a similar plane surface located in the exhaust jet of a reaction engine, providing directional control while the engine is firing.
  6. Ornithology. the web of a feather.
  7. Navigation, Surveying. either of two fixed projections for sighting an alidade or the like.
  8. Archery. feather(def 5).
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Origin of vane

before 1100; Middle English; Old English fana flag; cognate with German Fahne flag, Gothic fana segment of cloth; cf. gonfanon
Related formsvaned, adjectivevane·less, adjectivemul·ti·vane, adjective
Can be confusedvain vane vein
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for vaned

Historical Examples

  • Through the water the Nevian commander darted along, steering his course accurately by means of his short, vaned tail.


    Edward Elmer Smith

  • I'm now vaned from all such vanities; for what are all those rarities and vagaries to the glory that shall be revealed hereafter?

British Dictionary definitions for vaned


  1. Also called: weather vane, wind vane a flat plate or blade of metal mounted on a vertical axis in an exposed position to indicate wind direction
  2. any one of the flat blades or sails forming part of the wheel of a windmill
  3. any flat or shaped plate used to direct fluid flow, esp a stator blade in a turbine, etc
  4. a fin or plate fitted to a projectile or missile to provide stabilization or guidance
  5. ornithol the flat part of a feather, consisting of two rows of barbs on either side of the shaft
  6. surveying
    1. a sight on a quadrant or compass
    2. the movable marker on a levelling staff
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Derived Formsvaned, adjectivevaneless, adjective

Word Origin

Old English fana; related to Old Saxon, Old High German fano, Old Norse fani, Latin pannus cloth


  1. Sir Henry, known as Sir Harry Vane. 1613–62, English Puritan statesman and colonial administrator; governor of Massachusetts (1636–37). He was executed for high treason after the Restoration
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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 vaned



"wind indicator," early 15c., southern England alteration (see V) of fane.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

vaned in Medicine


(vān)John Robert 1927-2004
  1. British pharmacologist. He shared a 1982 Nobel Prize for research on prostaglandins.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

vaned in Science


  1. The flattened, weblike part of a feather, consisting of a series of barbs on either side of the rachis.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.