• synonyms


See more synonyms for fen on Thesaurus.com
  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.
Show More

Origin of fen1

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


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.
Show More

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 fen

Historical Examples

  • For a first book ‘A Daughter of the Fen’ is full of promise.

    Robert Orange

    John Oliver Hobbes

  • Beyond, flows the Fen River, and before him is the city gate.

  • There was not a light in any house she passed, not even in Mr. Fen Llewellen's cottage.

  • Shall we try to circle this fen and get across, or go back again?

    Girl Scouts in the Adirondacks

    Lillian Elizabeth Roy

  • But do you think it will take off all the water, and spoil the fen, Dave?

    Dick o' the Fens

    George Manville Fenn

British Dictionary definitions for fen


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

Word Origin

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


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

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 fen


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.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper