noun (1)
\ˈpan \

Definition of pan 

(Entry 1 of 9)

1a : a usually broad, shallow, and open container for domestic use (as for cooking)

b : any of various similar usually metal receptacles: such as

(1) : the hollow part of the lock in a firelock or flintlock gun that receives the priming

(2) : either of the receptacles in a pair of scales

(3) : a round shallow usually metal container for separating metal (such as gold) from waste by washing

c British : toilet sense 1a also : bowl sense 3b

d : steel drum

2a(1) : a natural basin or depression in land

(2) : a similar artificial basin (as for evaporating brine)

b : a drifting fragment of the flat thin ice that forms in bays or along the shore

4 slang : face

5 : a harsh criticism


verb (1)
panned; panning

Definition of pan (Entry 2 of 9)

transitive verb

1a : to wash in a pan for the purpose of separating heavy particles

b : to separate (a substance, such as gold) by panning

c : to place in a pan

2 : to criticize severely the show was panned

intransitive verb

1 : to wash material (such as earth or gravel) in a pan in search of metal (such as gold)

2 : to yield precious metal in the process of panning usually used with out


noun (2)
\ˈpän \

Definition of pan (Entry 3 of 9)

1 : a betel leaf

2 : a masticatory of betel nut, mineral lime, and pan


noun (3)
\ˈpan \

Definition of pan (Entry 4 of 9)

1 : the process of panning a motion-picture or video camera

2 : a shot in which the camera is panned


verb (2)
\ˈpan \
panned; panning

Definition of pan (Entry 5 of 9)

transitive verb

: to rotate (a camera, such as a motion-picture camera) so as to keep an object in the picture or secure a panoramic effect

intransitive verb

1 : to pan a motion-picture or video camera

2 of a camera : to undergo panning


noun (4)
\ˈpan \

Definition of Pan (Entry 6 of 9)

: a Greek god of pastures, flocks, and shepherds usually represented as having the legs, horns, and ears of a goat Pan is often depicted playing a panpipe.


abbreviation (1)

Definition of Pan (Entry 7 of 9)



abbreviation (2)

Definition of PAN (Entry 8 of 9)

peroxyacetyl nitrate

Definition of pan- (Entry 9 of 9)

1 : all : completely panchromatic

2a : involving all of a (specified) group or region Pan-American

b : advocating or involving the union of a (specified) group Pan-Slavism

3 : whole : general panleukopenia

First Known Use of pan

Noun (1)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb (1)

1832, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Noun (2)

1616, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (3)

circa 1922, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb (2)

1913, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Noun (4)

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for pan

Noun (1)

Middle English panne, from Old English (akin to Old High German phanna pan), from Latin patina, from Greek patanē

Noun (2)

Hindi & Urdu pān, from Sanskrit parṇa wing, leaf — more at fern

Noun (3)

short for panorama

Noun (4)

Latin, from Greek

Combining form

Greek, from pan, neuter of pant-, pas all, every; akin to Tocharian B pont- all

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about pan

Dictionary Entries near pan








Statistics for pan

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pan

The first known use of pan was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for pan


\ˈpan \

Kids Definition of pan

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a usually shallow open container used for cooking

2 : a shallow open tray or container Put the gold on the pan and we'll weigh it.


panned; panning

Kids Definition of pan (Entry 2 of 2)

: to wash earthy material so as to collect bits of metal (as gold)

pan out

: to give a good result : succeed


\ˈpan \

Medical Definition of Pan 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: a genus of anthropoid apes containing the chimpanzee

Medical Definition of PAN (Entry 2 of 2)

peroxyacetyl nitrate

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on pan

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pan

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pan

Spanish Central: Translation of pan

Nglish: Translation of pan for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pan for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about pan

Comments on pan

What made you want to look up pan? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a nest or breeding place

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!