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fan, n.2

Forms:  Also 1600s fann, phan.(Show Less)
Frequency (in current use):  Show frequency band information
Etymology: Abbreviation of fanatic adj. and n. Re-formed in 19th cent.

  A fanatic; in modern English (originally U.S.): a keen and regular spectator of a (professional) sport, originally of baseball; a regular supporter of a (professional) sports team; (hence) a keen follower of a specified hobby or amusement, and (gen.) an enthusiast for a particular person or thing.

1682   ‘T. Rationalis’ New News from Bedlam 13   The Loyal Phans to abuse.
1682   ‘T. Rationalis’ New News from Bedlam 40   To be here Nurs'd up, Loyal Fanns to defame, And damn all Dissenters on purpose for gain.
1890   Omaha (Nebraska) Sunday Bee 2 Feb. ii.   There has not been much enthusiasm shown among the baseball fans of the city.
1896   G. Ade Artie xvii. 158   I'm goin' to be the worst fan in the whole bunch.
1901   Dial. Notes 2 139   Fan, a base ball enthusiast; common among reporters.
1914   Daily Express 3 Oct. 3   First League football ‘fans’ in London can have a joyous time to-day.
1915   Film Flashes 13 Nov. 1   It is quite usual for a picture ‘fan’ to come out of one theatre and immediately cross the road to another.
1919   W. T. Grenfell Labrador Doctor (1920) iv. 56   Among my acquaintances there were not a few theatre fans.
1921   A. W. Myers Twenty Years Lawn Tennis 142   This was sheer spectacular tennis, dear to the hearts of the American ‘fans’.
1925   H. V. Morton Heart of London 93   The fight fans howling like a pack of hungry wolves.
1928   S. Vines Humours Unreconciled xiii. 168   What about..your League of Nations and disarmament fans?
1950   Manch. Guardian Weekly 4 May 15/4   The Water Department..had received..‘good-natured’ complaints from base-ball fans about the washing-out of two days' play.

1682—1950(Hide quotations)




  fan club   n. a group formed by the devotees of some hero, ‘star’, etc.

1941   V. Faulkner in Sat. Evening Post 6 Sept. 37/3   Sleepy Hollow, the name Desire had selected for her residence from a contest held by her fan club.
1959   ‘O. Mills’ Stairway to Murder v. 51   I believe she's the President of your Fan Club.

1941—1959(Hide quotations)


  fan letter   n. a letter from an admirer to a celebrity.

1932   P. G. Wodehouse Louder & Funnier 41   How many fan-letters did you get last week?
1937   W. S. Maugham Theatre x. 82   She was naturally polite and it was, besides, a principle with her to answer all fan letters.

1932—1937(Hide quotations)


  fan magazine   n. a journal specializing in some common object of devotion or in well-known personalities.

1928   Amer. Speech 3 364   It was picked up from a ‘fan-magazine’.
1951   Life 21 May 130/2   ‘Fanzines’, or fan magazines, which are usually small mimeographed publications devoted to amateur STF, criticism and gossip.

1928—1951(Hide quotations)


  fan mail   n. the letters sent to a celebrity by his or her followers.

1924   Motion Picture Mag. June 43 (title)    The business of fan mail.
1937   W. H. Auden & L. MacNeice Lett. from Iceland 17   A poet's fan-mail will be nothing new.
1955   R. Bannister First Four Minutes xiv. 194   It was the beginning of a fan mail and of invitations to open bazaars that have continued ever since.

1924—1955(Hide quotations)


Draft additions June 2021


  fan art n. (originally) artwork created by devotees of a famous performer, book, TV series, etc., typically depicting the performer(s), themes, or characters familiar from the original work.

1969   A. Aldridge Beatles Illustr. Lyrics I. 11   For the section on fan art we advertised widely.
1977   Amer. Libraries Apr. 213/1   The new directory [of Star Trek] also provides lists of actors in each show, fan art and stills.
2015   N. Lamerichs in J. Enevold & E. MacCallum-Stewart Game Love ii. 100   Like fan fiction..and fan art, cosplay motivates fans to closely interpret existing texts..and extend them with their own narratives and ideas.

1969—2015(Hide quotations)


Draft additions July 2002

  fan base   n. originally U.S. the fans of a particular team, group, or person collectively; esp. long-term, dedicated supporters, sometimes perceived as being drawn from, or consisting of, a distinct social group.

1979   Washington Post 18 Sept. e5/6   I think Washington will make it as a soccer town... We have a great fan base. We need to build on it.
1990   M. Hodgkinson Wedding Present (BNC) 46   Perhaps the only common ground the groups share is their fan base. They mainly attract a section of white, working-class and lower-middle class youth, often college educated.
2001   N.Y. Mag. 5 Mar. 72/2   Philip K. Dick..whose fan base has long consisted of pimply Dungeons & Dragons aficionados and twitchy, hollow-cheeked amphetamine tweakers.

1979—2001(Hide quotations)


Draft additions June 2004

  fanboy   n. slang (occas. depreciative) a male fan (in later use chiefly of comics, film, music, or science fiction), esp. an obsessive one.

1919   Decatur (Illinois) Rev. 2 Oct. 6/2   It was a shock to the fan boys when Cincinnati..beat the Chicago White Sox.
1973   (title of fanzine)    Fanboy.
1985   Re: CoIE: a Non-fan's Opinion in net.comics (Usenet newsgroup) 20 June   I've heard some comments from assorted folks that COIE is just a sap to the ‘fan boy’ audience... I regret that the non-fan has gotten lost and confused, but this ‘fan boy’ loves every minute of it.
1992   New Musical Express 4 Apr. 17/6   The idea is to package the music and make it really really collectable so the trainspotters and manky fanboy geekoids will buy it in their pathetic thousands.
2001   Village Voice (N.Y.) 18 Dec. 42/4   A critical darling and a cult hero—last month's Film Society of Lincoln Center tribute..was overrun with spiky-haired, bespectacled fanboys.

1919—2001(Hide quotations)


Draft additions September 2004

  fanfic   n. colloquial = fan fiction n. at Additions.

1976   in Amer. Speech (1978) 53 55   Granted some of the stories aren't great literature but they do seem to be a reasonably accurate cross section of short fan fic.
1996   Baltimore Sun (Nexis) 16 Apr. 1 f   Many fan-fics can be found on usenet.
2002   Sunday Times 4 Aug. 50/2   Sexy fanfic is called ‘slash fiction’.

1976—2002(Hide quotations)


Draft additions September 2004

  fan fiction   n. fiction, usually fantasy or science fiction, written by a fan rather than a professional author, esp. that based on already-existing characters from a television series, book, film, etc.; (also) a piece of such writing.

1939   Spaceways Feb. 22   It contains twenty large size pages, extremely well mimeoed, and consisting mainly of the best original fan fiction.
1975   J. Lichtenberg et al. Star Trek Lives! i. 23   Laura, whose ambition is to become a professional writer, has been writing Star Trek fiction since her early teens, and was recently nominated for a Hugo Award for fan fiction for her series ‘Federation and Empire’.
2002   Yahoo! Internet Life Mar. 32/3   Sing the praises of your favorite band, or heap scorn on the newest Lord of the Rings fan fiction.

1939—2002(Hide quotations)


Draft additions June 2004

  fangirl   n. slang (occas. depreciative) a female fan (chiefly of comics, film, music, or science fiction), esp. an obsessive one.

1934   A. P. Herbert Holy Deadlock 162   Mary..dashed out through the rain so swiftly that only two of the fan-girls caught her.
1990   Re: Hobbes: Possessed Toy from Hell or Reality Check from Alien Gods? in rec.arts.comics (Usenet newsgroup) 28 May   Use those fanboy and fangirl talents of yours! Trace continuity back to the Hobbes Origin Story, and all will be revealed.
2002   J. Goad Shit Magnet x.157   I'm the crippled writer; she's the obsessive fangirl.

1934—2002(Hide quotations)


This entry has not yet been fully updated (first published 1894; most recently modified version published online June 2021).

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