1 [yen]
noun, plural yen.
an aluminum coin and monetary unit of Japan, equal to 100 sen or 1000 rin. Symbol: ¥; Abbreviation: Y
a former silver coin of Japan.

1870–75; < Japanese (y)en < Chinese yuán yuan Unabridged


2 [yen] Informal.
a desire or craving: I had a yen for apple pie.
verb (used without object), yenned, yenning.
to have a craving; yearn.

1905–10, Americanism; probably < dialectal Chinese (OAGuangdong) yáhn, akin to Chinese yǐn craving, addiction

1. longing, hankering, hunger, appetite. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
yen1 (jɛn)
n , pl yen
the standard monetary unit of Japan, (notionally) divided into 100 sen
[C19: from Japanese en, from Chinese yüan circular object, dollar]

yen2 (jɛn)
1.  a passionate, ardent, or intense longing or desire
vb , yens, yenning, yenned
2.  (intr) to yearn
[perhaps from Chinese (Cantonese) yăn a craving, addiction]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

"Japanese monetary unit," 1875, from Japanese yen, from Chinese yuan "round, round object, circle, dollar."

"sharp desire, hunger," 1906, earlier yin "intense craving for opium" (1876), from Chinese (Cantonese) yan "craving," or from a Beijing dialect word for "smoke." Reinforced in Eng. by influence of yearn.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


see have a yen for.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Encyclopedia Britannica


monetary unit of Japan. The yen was divided into 100 sen and into 1,000 rin until 1954, when these tiny denominations were removed from circulation. Despite having suffered enormous devastation during World War II, Japan enjoyed an economic miracle in the second half of the 20th century, during which time the yen became one of the leading international currencies, challenging the pound sterling and the dollar on international markets. The yen's symbol is . The name yen derives from an ancient term for Chinese round coins (yuan).

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
Worrying about a strong dollar and a weak yen makes no sense.
When the euro is in trouble the dollar and yen rise.
When the pound is in trouble, the euro rises a little, dollar and yen stabilize.
The yen was lower against the dollar and other currencies during and after the
  central-bank meeting.
Idioms & Phrases
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