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Etymology 1[edit]

(1846) Borrowing from French flan ‎(cheesecake, custard tart, flan), from Old French flaon, from Late Latin fladō ‎(flat cake), from Frankish *flado, *flatho ‎(flat cake), from Proto-Germanic *flaþô ‎(flat cake), from Proto-Indo-European *pl̥h₂t- ‎(broad, flat), from Proto-Indo-European *pelh₂- ‎(to spread out, be broad, be flat). Akin to Old High German flado ‎(flat cake, offering cake). More at flathe.

A savory flan (non-dessert).
A flan (custard dessert) from India.

Alternative forms[edit]


flan ‎(plural flans)

  1. (Britain, US) Baked tart with sweet or savoury filling in an open-topped pastry case. (Compare quiche.)
    • 2004, Shawn Blore, ‎Alexandra de Vries, Frommer's Brazil (ISBN 0764569724), page 175:
      The menu includes a number of excellent fish dishes such as the [] broccoli flan.
  2. (US, Belize) A dessert of congealed custard, often topped with caramel, especially popular in Spanish-speaking countries. (Called a crème caramel in the UK.)
  3. (numismatics) A coin die
Related terms[edit]

See also[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

English, from a slip of the tongue by actor Nathan Fillion.


flan ‎(plural flans)

  1. (informal) A fan of U.S. TV series Firefly; a Browncoat.
    • 2005 January 29, P. Burrows, “Re: Name for Lost fans?”, in rec.arts.sf.tv, Usenet[1]:
      (some) Firefly flans call themselves Browncoats (Remember, the hot movie from Universal is out this September! :)
    • 2006 June 18, Geoff Aldrich, “Re: SciFi promotion [Was Firefly fans skew older?]”, in alt.tv.firefly, Usenet[2]:
      For what it's worth, I'm 27 and am a huge Firefly/Serenity flan.
    • 2007 January 21, Tal, “Re: Nude Jewel Staite? Close enough.”, in alt.tv.firefly, Usenet[3]:
      I'm glad this wasn't the first flan group I came across or I would never have realised the great nature of the majority of browncoasts.[sic]
    • For more examples of usage of this term, see Citations:flan.




From Old French flaon, from Late Latin fladonem, accusative of flado ‎(flat cake), from Frankish *flado ‎(flat cake), from Proto-Germanic *flaþô ‎(flat, broad), from Proto-Indo-European *plat-, *pla- ‎(flat, broad), from Proto-Indo-European *pele- ‎(to spread out, broad, flat). Akin to Old High German flado ‎(flat cake, offering cake) (German Fladen), Dutch vla ‎(baked custard).


flan m ‎(plural flans)

  1. baked custard tart
  2. coin die

External links[edit]

Old English[edit]


From Proto-Germanic *flainaz ‎(hook, spear with a tip), from Proto-Indo-European *pleyn- ‎(metal arrow, hook, spear-head). Akin to Old Norse fleinn ‎(hook, barbed weapon, javelin, arrow).



flān m, f

  1. a barb
  2. a javelin
  3. an arrow; dart
    Hie ða fromlice leton forð fleogan flana scuras. Then they promptly let fly showers of arrows. (Judith)


(when masculine)

(when feminine)




From French flan, from Frankish *flado.


flan m ‎(plural flanes)

  1. flan, sweet pudding