: a movable device attached to an elevated object (such as a spire) for showing the direction of the wind
: one that is changeable or inconstant
: a thin flat or curved object that is rotated about an axis by a flow of fluid or that rotates to cause a fluid to flow or that redirects a flow of fluid
the vanes of a windmill
: the web or flat expanded part of a feather see feather illustration
: a feather fastened to the shaft near the nock of an arrow

Examples of vane in a Sentence

the vanes of a windmill
Recent Examples on the Web It’s also equipped with the same handy hair-removal vanes as the Outsize+, above, which prevent long strands from getting tangled up in the floorhead. Camryn Rabideau,, 2 Jan. 2024 The hair removal vanes prevented tangling around the brushroll. Camryn Rabideau, Peoplemag, 15 Nov. 2023 The parts were seals on compressor stator vanes that help direct airflow inside the engine. Mary Schlangenstein, Fortune, 18 Sep. 2023 The same head also features hair removal vanes running throughout to prevent hair from getting stuck— an extra-necessary feature for carpets, where fibers and hair are most likely to be buried. Alida Nugent, Better Homes & Gardens, 11 Sep. 2023 The Rolls-Royce’s exterior design also features a few firsts, most noticeable being a new take on the Pantheon Grille, which eschews the normally straight vanes for ones that bend slightly near the top—something the marque has never done before. Viju Mathew, Robb Report, 20 Aug. 2023 The outdoor element of the device (which comes with a base and screws for easy mounting) can be placed up to 330 feet away from the display station, and the wind vane has 16 different indicators to record the slightest change. Alida Nugent, Better Homes & Gardens, 28 Mar. 2023 Twenty-two inch and shorter bolts are hard to see in a target, even with bright-colored vanes. Jace Bauserman, Field & Stream, 11 Apr. 2023 There is some conjecture as to whether the vanes in a rifled slug cause the projectile to spin at all. Joe Genzel, Outdoor Life, 10 Aug. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'vane.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English fane, vane "flag, pennant, weather vane," going back to Old English fana, fane (masculine or feminine weak noun) "banner, standard, kind of iris," going back to Germanic *fanōn (whence also Old Frisian fona, fana "flag," Old Saxon fano "cloth, cloak, flag," Middle Dutch vane, vaen "flag," Old High German fano "cloth, cloak, ribbon, flag," Old Icelandic fani "banner," Gothic fana "piece of cloth, rag"), perhaps a borrowing from the same source as Latin pannus "piece of cloth, rag"

Note: In the sense "banner, flag" Old English fana, Old Saxon fano, etc., are probably shortenings of Old English gūþfana, Old Saxon gūthfano, etc., "battle standard, banner"—see gonfalon. —The Germanic and Latin etyma have also been associated with Greek pḗnē "thread on the spool or bobbin that will form the weft" (also pēníon, Doric pāníon "spool, bobbin," and pênos, glossed "web" by Hesychius), though the senses appear too remote to be comparable. G. Kroonen suggests that the forms might be unified by positing an original ablauting n-stem *p(é)h2-ōn, genitive *ph2-n-ós, with the Germanic word being the outcome of a generalized stem *ph2-no- or *peh2-nó-, with shortening by Dybo's Law (shortening of long vowels before an accented syllable beginning with a resonant). Latin pannum could be relatable if it was the outcome of the littera-rule (V:C > VCC). A problem here, however, is that there appear to be no other cases of the littera-rule operating in Latin before a nasal consonant—and, in any case, there are no examples of *pānus. Germanic *fanōn and Latin pannus are perhaps to be considered loanwords from an unknown source.

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of vane was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near vane

Cite this Entry

“Vane.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


: a movable device attached to something high to show which way the wind is blowing
: a thin flat or curved object that is rotated about an axis by a flow of fluid (as air or water) or that rotates to cause a fluid to flow or that changes the direction of a flow of fluid
the vanes of a windmill
: the web or flat expanded part of a feather
vaned adjective

Biographical Definition


biographical name

Sir Henry 1613–1662 the Younger English statesman

More from Merriam-Webster on vane

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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