Arcadian shepherd god with upper body of a man and horns and lower part like a goat, late 14c., a god of the woods and fields, from Latin, from Greek Pan. Klein says perhaps cognate with Sanskrit pusan, a Vedic god, guardian and multiplier of cattle and other human possessions, literally "nourisher." Similarity to pan "all" (see pan-) led to his being regarded as a personification of nature. Pan-pipe, upon which he supposedly played, is attested from 1820.
Old English panne, earlier ponne (Mercian) "pan," from Proto-Germanic *panno "pan" (source also of Old Norse panna, Old Frisian panne, Middle Dutch panne, Dutch pan, Old Low German panna, Old High German phanna, German pfanne), probably an early borrowing (4c. or 5c.) from Vulgar Latin *patna. This is supposed to be from Latin patina "shallow pan, dish, stew-pan," from Greek patane "plate, dish," from PIE *pet-ano-, from root *pete- "to spread." But both the Latin and Germanic words might be from a substrate language [Boutkan]. Irish panna probably is from English, and Lithuanian panė is from German.
Used of pan-shaped parts of mechanical apparatus from c. 1590; hence flash in the pan, a figurative use from early firearms, where a pan held the priming (and the gunpowder might "flash," but no shot ensue). To go out of the (frying) pan into the fire is first found in Spenser (1596).
"to wash gravel or sand in a pan in search of gold," 1839, from pan (n.); thus to pan out "turn out, succeed" (1868) is a figurative use of this (literal sense from 1849). The meaning "criticize severely" is from 1911, probably from the notion in contemporary slang expressions such as on the pan "under reprimand or criticism" (1923). Related: Panned; panning.
"follow with a camera," 1913 shortening of panoramic in panoramic camera (1878). Meaning "to swing from one object to another in a scene" is from 1931. Related: Panned; panning.
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