From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [1]

FAN. —The fan (מִוִרָה mizreh, the πτύον of  Matthew 3:12 and  Luke 3:17) was an implement used in the winnowing of grain ( Isaiah 30:24 [where it is mentioned along with the רִחַת rahath, Authorized and Revised Versions ‘shovel’]). It was either a wooden shovel (Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible i. 51a; Smith, D B [Note: Dictionary of the Bible.] i. 31; van Lennep, Bible Lands , p. 83) or a pitchfork (Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible iv. 509a; Encyc. Bibl. i. 84: Mackie, Bible Manners and Customs , p. 42). The balance of probability is in favour of the latter.

We get no help from LXX Septuagint and Vulgate. LXX Septuagint omits the word; the Vulgate renders by ventilabrum , which was, according to some, a shovel (Ramsay, Roman Antiquities , p. 482), and, according to others, a fork (Smith, Lat. English Dict. s.v. ). Pesh. has raphsho ’, which means ‘shovel.’ There is, however, the significant fact that down to the present day two winnowing implements are used in Palestine which bear practically the same names as those which occur in  Isaiah 30:24. These are the miḍrâ and the raht , and there is no substantial reason for doubting that they correspond respectively to the mizrch and the rahath . The miḍrâ , which we accordingly identify with the ‘fan’ of Scripture, is a simple wooden fork about six feet long. It has from five to seven prongs, which are set in separately and bound together with a wrapping of fresh hide. The natural shrinkage of the hide renders it a very effective ligature. The raht is a wooden shovel about five feet in length.

The winnowing of the mixed mass of grain, chaff, and short straw produced by threshing is begun by tossing it into the air with the miḍrâ . This process frees most of the chaff and straw, which are carried away by the wind (see Agriculture, p. 40), but a good deal still remains mingled with the pile of grain. A second winnowing is therefore needed, and for this the raht is used. See also Chaff.

Literature.—On the meaning of Christ’s winnowing-fan see Seeley, Ecce Homo , ch. vi.

Hugh Duncan.

Webster's Dictionary [2]

(1): ( n.) An instrument for cooling the person, made of feathers, paper, silk, etc., and often mounted on sticks all turning about the same pivot, so as when opened to radiate from the center and assume the figure of a section of a circle.

(2): ( n.) An instrument used for producing artificial currents of air, by the wafting or revolving motion of a broad surface

(3): ( n.) Any revolving vane or vanes used for producing currents of air, in winnowing grain, blowing a fire, ventilation, etc., or for checking rapid motion by the resistance of the air; a fan blower; a fan wheel.

(4): ( n.) An instrument for winnowing grain, by moving which the grain is tossed and agitated, and the chaff is separated and blown away.

(5): ( n.) Something in the form of a fan when spread, as a peacock's tail, a window, etc.

(6): ( n.) A small vane or sail, used to keep the large sails of a smock windmill always in the direction of the wind.

(7): ( n.) That which produces effects analogous to those of a fan, as in exciting a flame, etc.; that which inflames, heightens, or strengthens; as, it served as a fan to the flame of his passion.

(8): ( n.) A quintain; - from its form.

(9): ( n.) To move as with a fan.

(10): ( n.) To excite or stir up to activity, as a fan axcites a flame; to stimulate; as, this conduct fanned the excitement of the populace.

(11): ( n.) To cool and refresh, by moving the air with a fan; to blow the air on the face of with a fan.

(12): ( n.) To ventilate; to blow on; to affect by air put in motion.

(13): ( n.) To winnow; to separate chaff from, and drive it away by a current of air; as, to fan wheat.

Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types [3]

 Isaiah 41:16 (a) GOD would use Israel to blow away their enemies and to have the victory over those who oppressed them.

 Jeremiah 4:11 (a) This is not a constructive wind, as when the chaff is fanned out from the wheat, but it is a destructive wind to increase the damage, as when a wind causes the fire to scatter through the forest or to spread from house to house. The enemy would destroy Jerusalem.

 Jeremiah 15:7 (b) This represents the great power of GOD's destructive wrath. As one fans a fire in order to make it burn more brightly, so the Lord will watch over His wrath to make it burn more fiercely upon those who forsake Him.

 Jeremiah 51:2 (a) The process of punishment is reversed in this Scripture and the enemies of the Jews are being punished themselves. Babylon is conquered and scattered by her enemies. GOD really did wipe out that great city with a destroying wind. (See  Jeremiah 51:1).

 Luke 3:17 (b) This is descriptive of a farmer who, with his fan and the wind produced by it, separates the chaff from the wheat. So Christ will separate those who are His from those who are not, in the great day of judgment. (See also  Matthew 3:12). The chaff referred to in this passage are those folk who are of no value at all to GOD. (See under "CHAFF").

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [4]

FAN . The fan of Scripture (  Isaiah 30:24 ,   Matthew 3:12 ,   Luke 3:17 ) is the five- or six-pronged wooden winnowing-fork , for which see Agriculture, § 3 . The corresponding verb is rendered ‘ winnow ,’   Isaiah 30:24 ,   Ruth 3:2 , but ‘fan’ elsewhere (Amer. RV [Note: Revised Version.] has ‘winnow’ throughout); the fanners of   Jeremiah 51:2 (AV [Note: Authorized Version.] , RVm [Note: Revised Version margin.] and Versions) are the ‘winnowers,’ as Amer. RVm [Note: Revised Version margin.] . Fanning or winnowing is a frequent figure for the Divine sifting and chastisement,   Jeremiah 4:11;   Jeremiah 15:7 etc.

A. R. S. Kennedy.

People's Dictionary of the Bible [5]

Fan. An instrument used to separate the chaff from the grain.  Isaiah 30:24;  Jeremiah 15:7;  Matthew 3:12;  Luke 3:17. The shovel in Isaiah is probably something used to separate the grain from the straw. It was perhaps a broad scoop by which the corn was thrown against the wind, often, doubtless, during the evening breeze,  Ruth 3:2, in order that the chaff might be blown away. The word translated "fan" in the first place above referred to has been thought to mean something of a similar kind, as a fork, which is still used in Palestine. It was possibly a measure or basket, in which to receive the grain. "Very little use," says Dr. Thomson, "is now made of the fan; but I have seen it employed to Purge The Floor of the refuse dust, which the owner throws away as useless."

Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words [6]

1: Πτύον (Strong'S #4425 — Noun Neuter — ptuon — ptoo'-on )

denotes "a winnowing shovel or fan," with which grain is thrown up against the wind, in order to separate the chaff,  Matthew 3:12;  Luke 3:17 .

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [7]

An instrument used for winnowing grain. In the East, fans are of two kinds: one a sort of fork, having three or four prongs, and a handle four feet long; with this they throw up the grain to the wind, that the chaff may be blown away: the other sort of fan is formed to produce wind when the air is calm,  Isaiah 30:24 . This process illustrates the complete separation which Christ the Judge will effect between the righteous and the wicked,  Jeremiah 15:7   Matthew 3:12 . See Threshing .

King James Dictionary [8]

FAN, n. L. vannus.

1. An instrument used by ladies to agitate the air and cool the face in warm weather. It is made of feathers, or of thin skin, paper or taffety mounted on sticks, &c. 2. Something in the form of a woman's fan when spread, as a peacoc's tail, a window, &c. 3. An instrument for winnowing grain, by moving which the grain is thrown up and agitated, and the chaff is separated and blown away. 4. something by which the air is moved a wing. 5. An instrument to raise the fire or flame as a fan to inflame love.

Smith's Bible Dictionary [9]

Fan. A Winnowing-Shovel, with which grain was thrown up against the wind to be cleansed from the chaff and straw.  Isaiah 30:24;  Matthew 3:12. A large wooden fork is used at the present day.

Easton's Bible Dictionary [10]

 Isaiah 30:24 Jeremiah 15:7 Matthew 3:12Agriculture

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [11]

A long-handled wooden spade, a "winnowing shovel," used in the East to throw up grain in the air so that the chaff may be separated from the wheat ( Matthew 3:12).

Holman Bible Dictionary [12]

 Isaiah 30:24

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [13]

( מִזְרֶה , mizreh', Πτύον ), a Winsowing-Shovel, with which grain was thrown up against the wind, in order to cleanse it from the brokensstraw and chaff ( Isaiah 30:24;  Jeremiah 15:7;  Matthew 3:12;  Luke 3:17). (See Agriculture). At the present day in Syria, the instrument used is a largee wooden fork. (See Robinson's Researches, 2:277, 371; Smith's Dict. Of Class., Antiq. s.v. Pala). Both kinds of instruments are delineated on the Egyptian monuments (Wilkinson, 2:4046). (See Winnowing).

The Nuttall Encyclopedia [14]

A light hand implement used to cause a draught of cool air to play upon the face; there are two kinds, the folding and non-folding; the latter, sometimes large and fixed on a pole, were known to the ancients, the former were invented by the Japanese in the 7th century, and became popular in Italy and Spain in the 16th century; but Paris soon took a lead in their manufacture, carrying them to their highest pitch of artistic perfection in the reign of Louis XIV.