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[pan-keyk] /ˈpænˌkeɪk/
a thin, flat cake of batter fried on both sides on a griddle or in a frying pan; griddlecake or flapjack.
Also called pancake landing. an airplane landing made by pancaking.
verb (used without object), pancaked, pancaking.
(of an airplane or the like) to drop flat to the ground after leveling off a few feet above it.
verb (used with object), pancaked, pancaking.
Informal. to flatten, especially as the result of a collision or other mishap:
The car had been pancaked by the bus.
to cause (an airplane) to pancake.
Origin of pancake
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English; see pan1, cake
Regional variation note
1. Pancake, hot cake, griddlecake, and flapjack, with its derived slapjack, are used interchangeably by many people, regardless of whether a pan or griddle is used for cooking, and each term is widely used throughout the U.S. Flannel cake, however, is confined chiefly to the North Midland U.S. and battercake to South Midland and Southern U.S. The following terms have limited regional use and may refer to flat cakes with different recipes or cooking methods: johnnycake, which is used in the Northeastern U.S.; corncake in the Midland and Southern U.S.; and hoecake in the South Midland and Southern U.S.


[pan-keyk] /ˈpænˌkeɪk/
a brand of cosmetic in a semimoist cake of compressed powder, usually applied with a moist sponge. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for pan-cake
Historical Examples
  • The roof broke under his greater weight, and he fell through on his master, squashing him flatter than a pan-cake.

    Fables For The Times H. W. Phillips
  • The Ensign also mixed batter for pan cakes and established quite a reputation as a pan-cake maker.

    The War Romance of the Salvation Army Evangeline Booth and Grace Livingston Hill
  • After it had gone by, he tried his aim on an old green frog, and laid him out "flatter'n a pan-cake," as he said to himself.

British Dictionary definitions for pan-cake


  1. a thin flat cake made from batter and fried on both sides, often served rolled and filled with a sweet or savoury mixture
  2. (as modifier): pancake mix
a Scot name for drop scone
a stick or flat cake of compressed make-up
Also called pancake landing. an aircraft landing made by levelling out a few feet from the ground and then dropping onto it
to cause (an aircraft) to make a pancake landing or (of an aircraft) to make a pancake landing
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for pan-cake



early 15c. (late 13c. as a surname), from pan (n.) + cake (n.); as symbol of flatness c.1600.


"to squeeze flat," 1879, from pancake (n.). Later, of aircraft, "to fall flat" (1911), with figurative extension. Related: Pancaked; pancaking.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with pan-cake


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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