A pan is used for cooking. This is a pan:

frying pan

  • You can use a frying pan for making many things such as eggs, bacon, fish, or grilled cheese sandwiches.
  • I used a pan last night to make some fried rice.
  • Many people like to use nonstick pans because they’re easy to clean.
  • It’s good to have an assortment of pots and pans in your kitchen if you like to cook.


But there are other types of pans:

  • If you change the oil in your car, you need an oil pan.
oil pan
  • When you clean your house and use a broom to sweep up dirt, you need a dust pan.
dust pan
  • A person who is sick in bed and can’t get up to go to the bathroom needs a bed pan.
bed pan

It’s possible to use the word "pan" as a verb:


  • When moving a video camera from left to right, you pan right.
  • If you move the camera from right to left, you pan left.

camera pan

Pan left. = Move the camera to your left.

A person who looks for gold in a river bed uses a pan.

  • He’s panning for gold.
pan for gold

To pan something is to criticize it and say it isn’t very good.

  • The critics panned the most recent movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.
  • If you open a restaurant that gets panned by the general public, you could go out of business.
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February 24, 2013