1. any device for producing a current of air by the movement of a broad surface or a number of such surfaces.
2. 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.
3. anything resembling such an implement, as the tail of a bird.
4. 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.
5. a series of revolving blades supplying air for winnowing or cleaning grain.
6. Horology. fly1 (def. 28).
7. a semicircular decoration of bunting.
8. Physical Geography. an alluvial fan.
–verb (used with object)
9. to move or agitate (the air) with or as if with a fan.
10. 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.
11. to stir to activity with or as if with a fan: to fan a flame; to fan emotions.
12. (of a breeze, current of air, etc.) to blow upon, as if driven by a fan: A cool breeze fanned the shore.
13. to spread out like a fan: The dealer fanned the cards.
14. Informal. to move (oneself) quickly: You'll fan your tail out of here if you know what's good for you.
15. Agriculture. to winnow, esp. by an artificial current of air.
16. Baseball. (of a pitcher) to strike out (a batter).
17. Chiefly South Midland and Southern U.S. to punish by spanking; spank: Your mother will fan you good if you break that dish.
–verb (used without object)