tropical tree of the order Palmae; the date-palm, Middle English palme, from Old English palma, Old French palme, both from Latin palma "palm tree," originally "palm of the hand;" the tree so called from the shape of its leaves, like fingers of a hand (see palm (n.1)).
The word traveled early to northern Europe, where the tree does not grow, via Christianity, and took root in the local languages (such as Old Saxon palma, Old High German palma, Old Norse palmr); Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter, commemorating Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem, is Old English palm-sunnandæg. In ancient times, a leaf or frond of the palm was carried or worn as a symbol of victory or triumph, or on feast days; hence figurative use of palm for "victory, triumph" (late 14c.).
Palm Beach, Florida, named for the palm groves there, was established as a luxury resort c. 1900 by railroad magnate Henry Flagler. Palm court "large room in a hotel, etc., usually decorated with potted palms" is recorded by 1908.
late Old English fannian "to winnow (grain)," from the noun (see fan (n.1)). Meaning "to stir up air" is from early 15c. Baseball sense of "strike out (a batter)" is by 1909. Related: Fanned; fanning. To fan out "spread out like a hand-held fan," is from 1590s.
device to make an air current, Old English fann (West Saxon) "a basket or shovel for winnowing grain" (by tossing it in the air), from Latin vannus, perhaps related to ventus "wind" (see wind (n.1)), or from PIE root *wet- (1) "to blow" (also "to inspire, spiritually arouse;" see wood (adj.)). Old English did not have a letter -v-, hence the change in the initial consonant.
The chaff, being lighter, would blow off. Sense of "device for moving air" first recorded late 14c.; the hand-held version is first attested 1550s. A fan-light (1819) was shaped like a lady's fan. The automobile's fan-belt is from 1909. Fan-dance is from 1872 in a Japanese context; by 1937 as a type of burlesque performance.
"devotee," 1889, American English, originally of baseball enthusiasts, probably a shortening of fanatic, but it may be influenced by the fancy, a collective term for followers of a certain hobby or sport (especially boxing); see fancy (n.). There is an isolated use from 1682, but the modern word likely is a late 19c. formation. Fan mail attested from 1920, in a Hollywood context; Fan club attested by 1930.
Before the close of the republic, an enthusiastic partisan of one of the factions in the chariot races flung himself upon the pile on which the body of a favourite coachman was consumed, and perished in the flames. [W.E.H. Lecky, "A History of European Morals," 1869]
"impose (something) on (someone) by fraud," 1670s, from palm (n.1); around the same time it also meant "conceal in the palm of the hand" (1670s) and "handle, manipulate" (1680s). Extended form palm off (something, on someone) is from 1822.
"flat of the hand, inner surface of the hand between the wrist and the fingers," c. 1300, paume, from Old French paume, palme (Modern French paume), from Latin palma "palm of the hand," also "flat end of an oar; palm tree," from PIE root *pele- (2) "flat; to spread" (source also of Greek palamē "open hand," Old Irish lam, Welsh llaw, Old English folm, Old High German folma "hand," Sanskrit panih "hand, hoof").
Palm oil is earlier in the punning sense of "bribe" (1620s) than in the literal sense of "fatty oil obtained from the fruit of the West African palm" (1705, from palm (n.2)).
type of fan-leaf palm, 1580s, from Spanish palmito "dwarf fan palm tree," diminutive of palma "palm tree," from Latin palma (see palm (n.2)). The suffix was subsequently Italianized. The Palmetto Flag was an emblem of South Carolina after secession (1860); the state was called Palmetto State from at least 1837.