In the old days, kings and wealthy people used to hire fanners to make them feel cooler. Is there an English synonym for the word fanner?

  • Punkah wallah
    – Phil Sweet
    Jun 29, 2016 at 3:13
  • 1
    It looks like an Indian expression. But,does it really exist in English? Jun 29, 2016 at 3:40
  • sure, google punkah louver
    – Phil Sweet
    Jun 29, 2016 at 3:45
  • @Mido Mido There are many words in English (particularly British English) that are Indian in origin. 'Char' for tea, 'Chit' for an official note, 'Bungalow' for a single storey house, 'Pukka' for something of which Jamie Oliver approves and so on.
    – BoldBen
    Sep 15, 2016 at 19:00
  • Punkah wallah does exist in English, but I would consider it at least potentially offensive and certainly burdened with colonial history. I would not personally, as a Brit, use it outside of very limited historical context.
    – Spagirl
    Oct 13, 2016 at 11:08

1 Answer 1



n. One who carries a fan (especially those carrying fans for the pharaohs of Ancient Egypt)


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