The front of an army; the first line or leading column; also, the front line or foremost division of a fleet, either in sailing or in battle. Standards and gonfalons, twixt van and rear, stream in the air. (milton)
Origin: Abbrev. Fr. Vanguard.
1. A fan or other contrivance, as a sieve, for winnowing grain.
2. Vanne, F. Vanneau beam feather (cf. It. Vanno a wing) fr. L. Vannus. See etymology above A wing with which the air is beaten. /Angels on the air plumy vans received him. He wheeled in air, and stretched his vans in vain; His vans no longer could his flight sustain. (Dryden)
Origin: L. Vannus a van, or fan for winnowing grain: cf. F. Van. Cf. Fan, Van a wing Winnow.
(Science: chemical) A shovel used in cleansing ore.
Origin: Cornish.
(Science: chemical) To wash or cleanse, as a small portion of ore, on a shovel.

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