fan 1 (făn)
1. A device for creating a current of air or a breeze, especially:
a. A machine using an electric motor to rotate thin, rigid vanes in order to move air, as for cooling.
b. A collapsible, usually wedge-shaped device made of a light material such as silk, paper, or plastic.
2. An implement or machine for winnowing.
3. Something resembling an open fan in shape: a peacock's fan.
v. fanned, fan·ning, fans
1. To move or cause a current of (air) with or as if with a fan.
2. To direct a current of air or a breeze upon, especially in order to cool: fan one's face.
3. To stir (something) up by or as if by fanning: fanned the flames in the fireplace; a troublemaker who fanned resentment among the staff.
4. To open (something) out into the shape of a fan: The bird fanned its colorful tail.
a. To fire (an automatic gun) in a continuous sweep by keeping one's finger on the trigger.
b. To fire (a revolver) rapidly by chopping the hammer with the palm.
6. To winnow.
7. Baseball To strike out (a batter).
1. To spread out like a fan: The troops fanned out from the beachhead.
2. Baseball To strike out.
[Middle English, winnowing fan, from Old English fann, from Latin vannus; see wet-1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
(click for a larger image)fan1
top: electric fan
bottom: handheld fan
(click for a larger image)
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.