pan, noun

English, South African DutchShow more English, ‘a hollow in the ground’, probably reinforced by South African Dutch pan a small lake.
See also salt pan.
a. A natural depression, often one in which a deposit of salt remains after water has evaporated.
1809 H. Alexander in G.M. Theal Rec. of Cape Col. (1900) VII. 16It is hereby permitted to all persons to bring Salt into Cape Town..without paying any compensation to the farmer of the Pans.
1833 Graham’s Town Jrnl 1 Aug. 1Good pasturage, a sufficiency of Water for the washing of the Sheep, and a Pan of the best Salt.
a1838 A. Smith Jrnl (1975) 147Seven waggons belonging to natives who had come for a supply of salt to a pan (salt-lake) in this neighbourhood.
1843 J.C. Chase Cape of G.H. 63The most important natural substance..found in this country is salt, of which there are four natural pans.
1860 J. Sanderson in Jrnl of Royal Geog. Soc. XXX. 254Next day we..began our descent into the lower ground; passing numerous round or oval hollows called ‘pans.’
1873 F. Boyle To Cape for Diamonds 74I saw that peculiar phenomenon of the country, a ‘pan’...As the name imports, it is a circular depression in the level of the veldt, with earthy bottom and sides.
1883 M.A. Carey-Hobson Farm in Karoo 103These ‘pans’ or lakes of salt are a curious feature in the physical geography of South Africa.
1913 C. Pettman Africanderisms 362Pan,..A nearly circular depression, in which a saline incrustation generally remains after the water, which accumulates in it in the wet season, has either evaporated or been absorbed.
1926 P.W. Laidler Tavern of Ocean 127In the old days the Company had a magazine for storing the salt gathered from the pan near by.
c1936 S. & E. Afr. Yr Bk & Guide 427There are 39 producing pans within the Union, employing a capital of nearly £250,000; output about 80,000 tons.
1945 L.G. Green Where Men Still Dream 117There are thousands of pans scattered over the dry parts of South Africa. Wind action may have caused these shallow depressions; or possibly they were flattened by glaciers.
1952 L.G. Green Lords of Last Frontier 44Ohopoho seems to have been selected as the seat of government because the huge pans there make natural aerodromes.
1961 L.E. Van Onselen Trekboer 82The Bushmanlander distinguishes between the vlei and the pan. The vleis contain fresh water after rain. The pans, which are encrusted with layers of salt, soon contaminate the water and make it unfit to drink.
1970 News/Check 24 July 31The Etosha only 8,000 sq miles.., of which a quarter is barren pan.
1972 Etosha Nat. Park (brochure) 1In good rain years large parts of the pan are under water. Then tens of thousands of aquatic birds make their appearance.
1984 Flying Springbok Sept. 33Several dazzling white pans have formed here at the point where the river runs into the highest set of sand dunes in the world...The pan surfaces are usually ‘cobbled’ or cracked into flakes.
1988 M. Spence in Motorist Nov. 4The animals are often concentrated around the waterholes, but large herds can also be seen on the plains and the shimmering white pans.
b. A shallow periodic lake formed, in a natural depression, by rain-water. Cf. vlei sense 1.
1871 W.G. Atherstone in A.M.L. Robinson Sel. Articles from Cape Monthly Mag. (1978) 147A natural drainage flowing off by rivers, or, where obstructed by rock dykes or mounds, forming ‘pans’ and periodical lakes and ‘vleis’.
1889 F. Jeppe Tvl Almanac & Dir. 31There are numerous pans all over the country, but only one that may be called a lake on account of its size and extent.
1902 The Intelligence Officer On Heels of De Wet 78There was a pan, which meant water for the horses.
1911 L. Cohen Reminisc. of Kimberley 112Partridge, plover, pau, which last, in flocks of hundreds, each morning hovered over the pans (huge ponds) to drink the waters.
1913 C. Pettman Africanderisms 362Pan,..The word is sometimes used as being synonymous with ‘Vlei’.
1920 E.H.L. Schwarz Kalahari; or, Thirstland Redemption 26The ground is very flat, and the rivers naturally spread out into vast shallow pans or ‘vloers’.
1930 S.T. Plaatje Mhudi (1975) 136Passing a miniature lake — called a pan in South Africa — filled with the waters of the recent flood, Mhudi paused to admire a flock of wild ducks swimming gracefully on the still water.
1940 V. Pohl Bushveld Adventures 245A large pan (a kind of small natural lake, usually dependent on rainfall).
1941 A.G. Bee Kalahari Camp Fires (1943) 18‘Pan’ the South African name for a lagoon, shallow and silver with reeds about the shore.
1970 Daily News 16 Oct. 1Fresh water pans in the floodplain are drying up.
1972 E.N. Marais Rd to Waterberg 45Our own lake ’Ngami..has been transformed from a permanent lake into a ‘temporary’ pan.
1972 Sunday Times 5 Nov. (Mag. Sect.) 5More than 40 sable walking with grace..across the turquoise-tinted pan to the still water to drink.
1987 S. Afr. Holidays Guide (brochure) 3Of particular interest..are the shallow pans in which a wide variety of birds have made their homes.
A natural depression, often one in which a deposit of salt remains after water has evaporated.
A shallow periodic lake formed, in a natural depression, by rain-water.
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