any device for producing a current of air by the movement of a broad surface or a number of such surfaces.
an implement of feathers, leaves, paper, cloth, etc., often in the shape of a long triangle or of a semicircle, for waving lightly in the hand to create a cooling current of air about a person:We sat on the veranda, cooling ourselves with palm-leaf fans.
Zoologyanything resembling such an implement, as the tail of a bird.
any of various devices consisting essentially of a series of radiating vanes or blades attached to and revolving with a central hublike portion to produce a current of air:ceiling fan; wall fan.
a series of revolving blades supplying air for winnowing or cleaning grain.
Time[Horol.]fly1 (def. 34).
Heraldrya semicircular decoration of bunting.
Geography[Physical Geog.]an alluvial fan.
Idiomshit 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.
to move or agitate (the air) with or as if with a fan.
to cause air to blow upon, as from a fan; cool or refresh with or as if with a fan:He fanned his face with a newspaper.
to stir to activity with or as if with a fan:to fan a flame; to fan emotions.
(of a breeze, current of air, etc.) to blow upon, as if driven by a fan:A cool breeze fanned the shore.
to spread out like a fan:The dealer fanned the cards.
Informal Terms[Informal.]to move (oneself ) quickly:You'll fan your tail out of here if you know what's good for you.
Agriculture[Agric.]to winnow, esp. by an artificial current of air.
Sport[Baseball.](of a pitcher) to strike out (a batter).
Dialect Terms[Chiefly South Midland and Southern U.S.]to punish by spanking; spank:Your mother will fan you good if you break that dish.
to strike, swing, or brush lightly at something.
Dialect Terms[Western U.S.](chiefly cowboy use). to slap the flanks of (a horse or other animal) repeatedly with a hat to get it to move or move faster.
to spread out like a fan (often fol. by out):The forest fire fanned out in all directions.
Sport[Baseball.](of a batter) to strike out, usually by swinging at and missing the pitch charged as the third strike.
Latin vannus winnowing basket
Middle English, Old English fann bef. 900
an enthusiastic devotee, follower, or admirer of a sport, pastime, celebrity, etc.:a baseball fan; a great fan of Charlie Chaplin.