The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Fan \Fan\ (f[a^]n), n. [AS. fann, fr. L. vannus fan, van for
winnowing grain; cf. F. van. Cf. Van a winnowing machine,
1. An instrument used for producing artificial currents of
air, by the wafting or revolving motion of a broad
(a) An instrument for cooling the person, made of
feathers, paper, silk, etc., and often mounted on
sticks all turning about the same pivot, so as when
opened to radiate from the center and assume the
figure of a section of a circle.
(b) (Mach.) Any revolving vane or vanes used for producing
currents of air, in winnowing grain, blowing a fire,
ventilation, etc., or for checking rapid motion by the
resistance of the air; a fan blower; a fan wheel.
(c) An instrument for winnowing grain, by moving which the
grain is tossed and agitated, and the chaff is
separated and blown away.
(d) Something in the form of a fan when spread, as a
peacock's tail, a window, etc.
(e) A small vane or sail, used to keep the large sails of
a smock windmill always in the direction of the wind.
Clean provender, which hath been winnowed with
the shovel and with the fan. --Is. xxx. 24.
2. That which produces effects analogous to those of a fan,
as in exciting a flame, etc.; that which inflames,
heightens, or strengthens; as, it served as a fan to the
flame of his passion.
3. A quintain; -- from its form. [Obs.] --Chaucer.
Fan blower, a wheel with vanes fixed on a rotating shaft
inclosed in a case or chamber, to create a blast of air
(fan blast) for forge purposes, or a current for draft and
ventilation; a fanner.
Fan cricket (Zool.), a mole cricket.
Fan light (Arch.), a window over a door; -- so called from
the semicircular form and radiating sash bars of those
windows which are set in the circular heads of arched
Fan shell (Zool.), any shell of the family Pectinid[ae].
See Scallop, n., 1.
Fan tracery (Arch.), the decorative tracery on the surface
of fan vaulting.
Fan vaulting (Arch.), an elaborate system of vaulting, in
which the ribs diverge somewhat like the rays of a fan, as
in Henry VII.'s chapel in Westminster Abbey. It is
peculiar to English Gothic.
Fan wheel, the wheel of a fan blower.
Fan window. Same as Fan light (above).
electric fan. a fan having revolving blades for propelling
air, powered by an electric motor.