[yoo-ahn; Chinese yyahn]

noun, plural yu·an.

Also called yuan dollar. a copper coin of the Republic of China, equal to 100 cents; dollar.
a paper money, brass or cupronickel coin, and monetary unit of the People's Republic of China, equal to 10 jiao or 100 fen.

Origin of yuan

1915–20; < Chinese yuán literally, round, circular; cf. yen1


[yoo-ahn; Chinese yyahn]

noun (sometimes lowercase)

(in the Republic of China) a department of government; council.


[yoo-ahn; Chinese yyahn]


the Mongol dynasty in China, 1260–1368, founded by Kublai Khan.
Also Pinyin, Yu·an.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for yuan


noun plural -an

the standard monetary unit of China, divided into 10 jiao and 100 fenAlso called: renminbi, renminbi yuan

Word Origin for yuan

from Chinese yüan round object; see yen 1




the imperial dynasty of China from 1279 to 1368


of or relating to the Chinese porcelain produced during the Yüan dynasty, characterized by the appearance of under-glaze blue-and-white ware



Yen (ˈjuːˈɛn)


a river in SE central China, rising in central Guizhou province and flowing northeast to Lake Tungting. Length: about 800 km (500 miles)
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 yuan

Chinese unit of currency introduced 1914, from Chinese yuan "round, round object, circle."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper