\ ˈvān How to pronounce vane (audio) \

Definition of vane

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a movable device attached to an elevated object (such as a spire) for showing the direction of the wind
b : one that is changeable or inconstant
2 : 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
3 : the web or flat expanded part of a feather — see feather illustration
4 : a feather fastened to the shaft near the nock of an arrow


biographical name
\ ˈvān How to pronounce Vane (audio) \

Definition of Vane (Entry 2 of 2)

Sir Henry 1613–1662 the Younger English statesman

Examples of vane in a Sentence

Noun the vanes of a windmill
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun For decades, this state was a reliable wind vane of American politics. New York Times, "Why Iowa Has Become Such a Heartbreaker for Democrats," 27 Apr. 2021 In other words, a vane, narcissistic, even sociopathic way of life which, as history shows, is humanity’s worst enemy. Luis E. Romero, Forbes, "Jurassic Leadership And The Dinosaur Within Us," 25 Feb. 2021 At the Bali airport, a vane, known as an angle of attack sensor, was replaced. New York Times, "With Boeing in Cross Hairs, Lion Air Gets a Pass on Poor Safety Record," 24 Nov. 2019 Another, equipped with a wind vane, transfers the motion of breezes to the room below. Mark Lamster, Dallas News, "Art and the City: An architect’s dream ranch house that’s an ethereal refuge," 6 Apr. 2020 Its fantail spins even when the four large vanes don’t. Steve Rubenstein,, "This just in: Social-distance cycling OK during coronavirus pandemic," 22 Mar. 2020 The vane on that side seemed to be the original unit. New York Times, "What Really Brought Down the Boeing 737 Max?," 18 Sep. 2019 The sensors are vanes attached to the fuselage that indicate whether the plane is headed up or down. Chris Woodyard, USA TODAY, "Is the Boeing 737 Max safe? 2 big reasons the plane is still grounded by FAA after crashes," 12 Nov. 2019 The replacement vane put onto this airplane in Bali was older than the airplane itself. New York Times, "What Really Brought Down the Boeing 737 Max?," 18 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'vane.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of vane


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

History and Etymology for vane


Middle English fane, vane "flag, pennant, weather vane," going back to Old English fana, fane "banner, standard," going back to Germanic *fanan- (whence Gothic fana "piece of cloth," Old Saxon fano "cloth," Old High German fano flag"; akin to Latin pannus "piece of cloth")

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Time Traveler for vane

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

1 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Vane.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 May. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of vane

: a thin, flat or curved object that is attached to a wheel and that moves when air or water pushes it


\ ˈvān How to pronounce vane (audio) \

Kids Definition of vane

2 : a flat or curved surface that turns around a center when moved by wind or water the vanes of a windmill

More from Merriam-Webster on vane

Nglish: Translation of vane for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about vane

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