Etymology
Advertisement

scan (v.)

late 14c., scannen, "to mark off verse in metric feet, analyze verse according to its meter," from Late Latin scandere "to scan verse," originally, in classical Latin, "to climb, rise, mount" (the connecting notion is of the rising and falling rhythm of poetry), from PIE *skand- "to spring, leap, climb" (source also of Sanskrit skandati "hastens, leaps, jumps;" Greek skandalon "stumbling block;" Middle Irish sescaind "he sprang, jumped," sceinm "a bound, jump").

English lost the classical -d- probably by confusion with suffix -ed (compare lawn (n.1)). Intransitive meaning "follow or agree with the rules of meter" is by 1857. The sense of "look at point by point, examine minutely (as one does when counting metrical feet in poetry)" is recorded by 1540s. New technology brought the meaning "systematically pass over with a scanner," especially to convert into a sequence of signals (1928). The (opposite) sense of "look over quickly, skim" is attested by 1926. Related: Scanned; scanning.

scan (n.)

1706, "a close investigation, an act of scanning," from scan (v.). The meaning "image obtained by scanning" is from 1953.

Others are reading

Advertisement
Advertisement
Definitions of scan
1
scan (v.)
examine minutely or intensely;
the surgeon scanned the X-ray
scan (v.)
examine hastily;
She scanned the newspaper headlines while waiting for the taxi
Synonyms: skim / rake / glance over / run down
scan (v.)
make a wide, sweeping search of;
The beams scanned the night sky
scan (v.)
conform to a metrical pattern;
scan (v.)
move a light beam over; in electronics, to reproduce an image;
scan (v.)
read metrically;
scan verses
scan (v.)
obtain data from magnetic tapes or other digital sources;
Synonyms: read
2
scan (n.)
the act of scanning; systematic examination of a prescribed region;
he made a thorough scan of the beach with his binoculars
scan (n.)
an image produced by scanning;
he analyzed the brain scan
you could see the tumor in the CAT scan
Synonyms: CAT scan
From wordnet.princeton.edu