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Fens

[fenz]
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noun
  1. Also called Fenland. a marshy lowland region in E England, S of the Wash: partly drained and channeled since the 17th century.

fen1

[fen]
noun
  1. low land covered wholly or partially with water; boggy land; a marsh.
  2. the Fens, a marshy region W and S of The Wash, in E England.

Origin of fen1

before 900; Middle English, Old English; cognate with Old Norse fen quagmire, Gothic fani mud, Dutch ven, German Fenn fen, bog

fen2

[fen]
noun, plural fen.
  1. an aluminum coin and monetary unit of the People's Republic of China, the hundredth part of a yuan or the tenth part of a jiao.

Origin of fen2

First recorded in 1905–10, fen is from the Chinese word fēn
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for fens

Historical Examples

  • The shores of its creeks and fens are tenanted by minks and muskrats.

    The Works of Whittier, Volume V (of VII)

    John Greenleaf Whittier

  • Fens, like deserts, are large things very apt to be mislaid.

    Alarms and Discursions

    G. K. Chesterton

  • Fortune declared against him, and he retreated, like some Hereward, to the fens.

  • The low hills were not yet cleared, nor the fens and the wolds trimmed and enclosed.

    Oxford

    Andrew Lang

  • The whole country was now, in fact, a vast expanse of marshes and fens.

    Hannibal

    Jacob Abbott


British Dictionary definitions for fens

Fens

pl n
  1. the Fens a flat low-lying area of E England, west and south of the Wash: consisted of marshes until reclaimed in the 17th to 19th centuries

fen1

noun
  1. low-lying flat land that is marshy or artificially drained

Word Origin

Old English fenn; related to Old High German fenna, Old Norse fen, Gothic fani clay, Sanskrit panka mud

fen2

noun plural fen
  1. a monetary unit of the People's Republic of China, worth one hundredth of a yuan

Word Origin

from Mandarin Chinese
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

Word Origin and History for fens

fen

n.

Old English fenn "mud, mire, dirt; fen, marsh, moor," from Proto-Germanic *fanjam- (cf. Old Saxon feni, Old Frisian fenne, Middle Dutch venne, Dutch veen, Old High German fenna, German Fenn "marsh," Old Norse fen, Gothic fani "mud"), from PIE *pen- "swamp" (cf. Gaulish anam "water," Sanskrit pankah "bog, marsh, mud," Old Prussian pannean "swampland"). Italian and Spanish fango, Old French fanc, French fange "mud" are loan-words from Germanic. The native Latin word was limus or lutum.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper