- any of various instruments for writing or drawing with ink or a similar substance.
- a detachable metal penpoint, filled by dipping or with a quill; nib.
- such a penpoint with its penholder.
- fountain pen.
- ball-point pen.
- the pen as the instrument of writing or authorship: The pen is mightier than the sword.
- a person's style or quality of writing: He writes with a witty, incisive pen.
- a writer: I leave this story to abler pens.
- the profession of writing: a master of the pen.
- Computers. stylus(def 3).
- a quill.
- a pinfeather.
- something resembling or suggesting a feather or quill.
- Zoology. an internal, corneous or chitinous, feather-shaped structure in certain cephalopods, as the squid.
- to write with or as with a pen; put down in writing: to pen an essay.
- to draw with or as with a pen: to pen a sketch.
Origin of pen1
- a small enclosure for domestic animals.
- animals so enclosed: We have a pen of twenty sheep.
- an enclosure used for confinement or safekeeping: We have built several pens to hold our harvest of corn.
- bull pen.
- a dock having a protective concrete structure overhead, used to service and repair submarines.
- to confine in or as in a pen.
Origin of pen2
Examples from the Web for penned
Michael Lewis, who coined the term and penned the 2003 bestselling book of that name.Can the U.S. Government Go Moneyball?
Peter Orszag, Jim Nussle
December 23, 2014
Few authors write more transparently about music than Swafford, who has also penned memorable lives of Brahms and Ives.The Best Biographies of 2014, Including Lives of Gandhi, the Koch Brothers, and Jefferson Davis
December 8, 2014
Judie Brown, president of American Life League, penned an op-ed blasting the “obvious erection.”When the Religious Right Attacked ‘The Little Mermaid’
November 20, 2014
It was on a hike to the Grand Canyon at age 18 that Shattuck penned her first bucket list.From Baltimore Ravens Cheerleader to Mrs. Robinson
November 6, 2014
When Brecht penned these lines, his continent hovered on the precipice of a journey into hell.Brecht's Mercenary Mother Courage Turns 75
September 10, 2014
And all the while those who write in the book of fate had penned the last decree.Roden's Corner
Henry Seton Merriman
They penned me up here with these saintly mothers and these angelic children.City of Endless Night
Truly they were penned by wisdom itself; none but God could have done the like.Selections from the Table Talk of Martin Luther
Not even from Valentina could he hope for mercy, so incriminating was the note he had penned.Love-at-Arms
He turned to the last paragraph he had penned and re-read it.Tony Butler
Charles James Lever
- International Association of Poets, Playwrights, Editors, Essayists, and Novelists
- an implement for writing or drawing using ink, formerly consisting of a sharpened and split quill, and now of a metal nib attached to a holderSee also ballpoint, fountain pen
- the writing end of such an implement; nib
- style of writing
- the pen
- writing as an occupation
- the written wordthe pen is mightier than the sword
- the long horny internal shell of a squid
- (tr) to write or compose
- an enclosure in which domestic animals are keptsheep pen
- any place of confinement
- a dock for servicing submarines, esp one having a bombproof roof
- (tr) to enclose or keep in a pen
- US and Canadian informal short for penitentiary (def. 1)
- a female swan
Word Origin and History for penned
"writing implement," late 13c., from Old French pene "quill pen; feather" (12c.) and directly from Latin penna "a feather, plume," in plural "a wing," in Late Latin, "a pen for writing," from Old Latin petna, pesna, from PIE *pet-na-, suffixed form of root *pet- "to rush; to fly" (see petition (n.)).
Latin penna and pinna "a feather, plume;" in plural "a wing;" also "a pinnacle; battlement" (see pin (n.)) are treated as identical in Watkins, etc., but regarded as separate (but confused) Latin words by Tucker and others, who derive pinna from PIE *spei- "sharp point" (cf. spike (n.1)) and see the "feather/wing" sense as secondary.
In later French, this word means only "long feather of a bird," while the equivalent of English plume is used for "writing implement," the senses of the two words thus are reversed from the situation in English. Pen-and-ink (adj.) is attested from 1670s. Pen name is recorded from mid-19c.
"enclosure for animals," Old English penn, penne, "enclosure, pen, fold," of uncertain origin, perhaps related to Old English pinn "pin, peg" (see pin (n.)) on notion of a bolted gate or else "structure made of pointed stakes."
late 15c., from pen (n.). Related: Penned; penning.
"to enclose in a pen," c.1200, from Old English *pennian, from the source of pen (n.2). Related: Penned; penning.