[with object]
  • 1informal Criticize severely.

    ‘the movie was panned by the critics’
    • ‘Five films from the dead French director's oeuvre that were critically panned on their original release get commercially brave DVD releases.’
    • ‘Yet despite suffering a critical panning it has emerged as a massive hit, raking in $32.2 million at the US box office last weekend.’
    • ‘But after the movie was panned by the American critics and failed at the box-office, he began denouncing it publicly.’
    • ‘The Academy is best known for its summer exhibition, often panned by the critics’
    • ‘Apparently, these two don't realize they're watching a movie that was universally panned by critics and audiences alike.’
    • ‘For a writer, being panned by a critic can be the last straw, as you nervously bring your inky pride and joy into public view after umpteen years of sweat and sacrifice.’
    • ‘Back home his buoyant show was critically panned and publicly popular; and the reason, I suspect, is that it offers a disenchanted view that doesn't get much airing in the predominantly pliant media.’
    • ‘Critics mercilessly panned this romantic gangster comedy when it first appeared on the big screen, but is it really that bad?’
    • ‘Sure, the book was critically panned; but literary excellence was never on the agenda.’
    • ‘Critics who panned this movie for being too clever for its own good or too remote in its postmodern sophistry haven't quite figured out that intellectual rigour doesn't automatically negate emotional resonance.’
    • ‘Inspite of being panned by the critics, it has appealed to all kinds of audiences.’
    • ‘Both were panned by critics in the American media and both were controversial.’
    • ‘Universally panned by the critics but loved by the public, it will be screened at Fairfield alongside the gospel performances.’
    • ‘What is very sad is that it was critically panned at its opening and three months later Bizet died, a broken man.’
    • ‘At the end of the Eighties, everything in my life came unstuck; the critics panned my Joan of Arc musical and my long-term relationship fell horribly apart.’
    • ‘Written in 1924, the symphony was panned by the critics of the day for being ‘vulgar and aggressive’.’
    • ‘The critics panned them and questioned the arrogance which had convinced this mere illustrator that he could dream of being taken ‘seriously’.’
    • ‘I suspect many actors would agree they did not perfect their craft reading rave reviews but rather those in which the critics panned their performances.’
    • ‘I see a critic panned it, but I found it quite amusing.’
    criticize, censure, attack, lambaste, condemn, find fault with, give a bad press to, flay, savage, shoot down, bring under fire
    View synonyms
  • 2Wash gravel in a pan to separate out (gold)

    ‘the old-timers panned gold’
    no object ‘prospectors panned for gold in the Yukon’
    • ‘He worked on ranches, sold newspapers, and panned for gold to pay for his education at the Boston Latin School.’
    • ‘A prospector named Jake Snively panned gold in a bend in the river about 20 miles east of Yuma.’
    • ‘Before that, he had spent six months with Antipodean cousins, in an old prospecting town, panning for gold.’
    • ‘As it was about one p.m. we assumed that he had just stopped by for lunch but when he had finished eating he took from his car a large wok-like pan and started panning the gravel from the river bed.’
    • ‘Australia has a new gold panning champion in Pine Creek man Fingers McPhee.’
    • ‘In Mozambique, gold has occasionally been panned from alluvial deposits close to the Zimbabwe border.’
    • ‘Towards the end of out visit, we stopped at a gold panning/rock shop that sold gold panning equipment, lessons and all kinds of doodads.’
    • ‘For the time being anyway, since no one is entirely sure exactly where in the Lowthers the gold comes from, panning remains a weekend hobby that demands endless patience for comparatively tiny financial rewards.’
    • ‘There were three other sightings that this witness has been involved in and he gave us some details of these previous sightings, as well as how he panned for gold near his property.’
    • ‘Here, perhaps for amusement or for practice before entering the gold fields, soon-to-be prospectors panned for gold.’
    • ‘Iron, copper, and coal were originally mined from outcroppings at or near the earth's surface, and gold was panned in streams.’
    • ‘Chronicling a campaign day is akin to panning for gold.’
    • ‘For every nugget of gold you've got to pan a hell of a lot of sand.’
    • ‘In my experience, it is like pulling teeth to get emotional detail out of some men, and similarly like panning for gold to get political conversation out of some women.’
    • ‘Teachers, parents and children dressed in cowboy gear, panned for gold, and played some very unusual games.’
    • ‘There's a notion that it's like panning for gold or something in the old days, this notion that it's a way to get rich, or get in or something like that.’
    • ‘We are small people, we have nothing to live from except planting our fields, plantations and panning for gold.’
    • ‘Some are dropping out to pan for gold in the nearby Umzingwane River.’
    • ‘If you're panning for gold, you have to sift through a lot of dirt before you find it.’
    • ‘Wading in a pool of brackish water, a man pans for rubies, sapphires and other gems using a basket at one of Sri Lanka's many pit mines.’
    sift for, search for, look for
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1pan outno object (of gravel) yield gold.
      • ‘Feel the rush as you pan out a real nugget of gold.’
      • ‘Not all the prospects pan out, but occasionally an owner will strike gold.’
      • ‘They can keep the gold they pan out as souvenirs of modest value, plus get a certificate, a medal and perhaps a bag of local cookies or a bottle of schnapps as a trophy.’
      • ‘Instead of panning out gold, several would be prospectors panned out pyrope garnet.’

Definition of pan in English:



  • 1with object and adverbial of direction Swing (a video or film camera) in a horizontal or vertical plane, typically to give a panoramic effect or follow a subject.

    ‘he was panning the camera over everything in sight’
    • ‘The camera can be panned, tilted, zoomed and focused using controls at the base of the trailer,’
    • ‘Down, down it curves - the filmmaker doing a nice job of panning the camera to match the object's trajectory.’
    • ‘We are moving into some traffic as I pan the camera through the passenger-side window.’
    • ‘Unsurprisingly enough, rpan pans the camera from left to right, rtilt tilts it up and down, rfocus refocuses it, rzoom zooms in or out, and riris sets the iris to suit the light.’
    • ‘I panned my camera across to Mark who was in the midst of another close encounter.’
    • ‘No matter how I tried to get into the game, the way you pan the camera around was nagging at me at every juncture.’
    • ‘You can pan the camera around but it only helps to change direction.’
    • ‘An in-joke among regulars at his East 47th Street Factory was to try to get Andy to pan the camera.’
    • ‘People will be able to press a button and speak to someone directly in the CCTV control room, who will pan the camera to observe them.’
    • ‘Luckily, you'll be able to pan the camera around these characters with the right thumb stick.’
    • ‘So, when Ken talks merrily of cameras being panned, zoomed and being used to identify drivers, we have clear drift in purpose.’
    • ‘With a wide view, you can usually pan the camera very slowly to follow the action, just like people do when moving their heads.’
    • ‘She panned the exterior camera over the surface and fed the data to the viewer.’
    • ‘You can pan the camera in any direction and can zoom in and out, but in most cases the default view gives you a good view of the battle.’
    • ‘McMullen, looking through an infrared lens, panned the camera down and couldn't believe what he saw.’
    • ‘This means that the camera, once mounted, can be panned and tilted through a full degree range in all directions.’
    • ‘Heading on down the wall, I practise panning my camera 90° through the water, trying to picture another ray, or perhaps even an angelshark, appearing out of the gloom and flying right towards us.’
    1. 1.1no object, with adverbial of direction (of a camera) be swung in a horizontal or vertical plane.
      ‘the camera panned to the dead dictator’
      • ‘I just wonder if the photographer could just pan down for a minute.’
      • ‘Well, the stage may have been small, but my fears were put to rest when the camera panned around the large packed theater.’
      • ‘The camera pans continuously over stones and foliage in a watery landscape that seems lush and full.’
      • ‘One of the first things they noticed was that the tape from the camera panning over the stage had been removed.’
      • ‘It's hard not to be horrified when the camera pans round to show a bloated and discoloured naked female corpse lying rotting under a tree, where it has been left for the CSIs to discover.’
      • ‘In the same series, a camera panned to a West Indies fielder sheltering under a large umbrella.’
      • ‘We then see the interior of the prison, with the camera panning across the room - priests, monks and soldiers milling about, some talking together in the foreground.’
      • ‘It was obviously taken by a surveillance camera panning back and forth across a room of civilians.’
      • ‘So, for example, while a camera is still panning around her, she hovers in the air, then suddenly unleashes a rapid fury of kicks and punches.’
      • ‘And if we just pan around to the left, we'll take a look at the scene outside.’
      • ‘The commentators were discussing defensive match-ups while the camera was panning over the crowd, occasionally stopping on a celebrity.’
      • ‘There is no animation at all, simply a superzoomed camera panning slowly over the static illustration while a narrator reads the page.’
      • ‘In the scene, the camera is panning from left to right, causing the objects in the image to slide rapidly across the screen.’
      • ‘The shot begins with the camera panning down from the sky to a beach.’
      • ‘Effects originate in all the surrounds, and sweeping / panning effects are used frequently.’
      • ‘With a slow-motion gaze, the camera panned across a sea of nameless people, focusing on expressions of worry, boredom and anticipation as they awaited their party's arrival.’
      • ‘The next-to-last shot of the series depicted the camera slowly panning back from a close-up to a long shot of the four inmates.’
      • ‘A panning shot involves the camera being in a fixed position but swivelling or panning to follow a subject or survey a scene.’
      • ‘She walks directly towards the hand held camera that pans left to follow her as she disappears behind a column.’
      • ‘Up until this point the trajectory of the surveillance files has been like that of a camera panning closer and closer on the suspect.’
      swing, swing round, sweep, track, move, turn, circle
      View synonyms


  • pan and scan

    • A technique for narrowing the aspect ratio of a widescreen film to fit the squarer shape of a television screen by continuously selecting the most significant portion of the original picture, rather than just the middle portion.

      • ‘Here is a good example of a movie that works infinitely better in widescreen than in pan and scan.’
      • ‘In the 1980s, movie buffs became more and more dissatisfied with the pan and scan process for viewing films on television.’
      • ‘The disc gives you a choice between pan and scan and a non-anamorphic widescreen transfer.’
      • ‘It is presented in 1.85: 1 letterbox on the widescreen side, and pan and scan on the flip side.’
      • ‘Even in art house showings, the film was always in the pan and scan rather than the wide-screen release that I kept reading about.’
      • ‘I am glad to get this movie in a widescreen edition: any type of pan and scan would not have done the visuals justice.’
      • ‘This edition includes both a pan and scan and a widescreen print of the film on the same disc.’
      • ‘The picture is presented in both pan and scan full screen and widescreen 1.85: 1 aspect ratio enhanced for widescreen TVs.’
      • ‘Until about 1990, most people were generally satisfied watching films that were panned and scanned.’
      • ‘I know many videophiles will be aghast, but my concern in changing ratios stems from butchering widescreen to pan and scan.’


Early 20th century: abbreviation of panorama.