Where did the phrase "pan-pan", used when declaring an emergency, originate?


1 Answer 1


Wikipedia has an un-cited reference to the etymology being

As with mayday (from venez m'aider, "come help me"), the urgency signal pan-pan derives from French. In French, a panne ([pan], "pahn") is a breakdown, such as a mechanical failure. In English, it is also sometimes[vague] pronounced as /pæn/ ("pan").

This article supports that history (and has many of the other emergency phrase histories as well).

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    – mins
    Aug 26, 2023 at 11:48

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