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[yen] /yɛn/
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


[yen] /yɛn/ 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. 2015.
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Examples from the web for yen
  • 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.
  • But officials there are increasingly worried that a rising yen will choke it off.
  • Instead, the dollar, euro and yen all need to depreciate.
  • The lure of dollars-or euros or yen-becomes all but irresistible when the alternatives become ever more limited.
  • The giants clogged fishing nets and poisoned potential catches with their toxic stings, costing coastal fishers billions of yen.
  • Mice normally have a yen for fatty foods, but the altered animals showed no preference for the stuff.
  • And for a few yen a miniature scroll of oracular hoodoo can be had.
British Dictionary definitions for yen


noun (pl) yen
the standard monetary unit of Japan, (notionally) divided into 100 sen
Word Origin
C19: from Japanese en, from Chinese yüan circular object, dollar


a passionate, ardent, or intense longing or desire
verb yens, yenning, yenned
(intransitive) to yearn
Word Origin
perhaps from Chinese (Cantonese) yăn a craving, addiction
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
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Word Origin and History for yen

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 English by influence of yearn.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for yen

yellow sunshine

noun phrase

acid, lsd (1960s+ Narcotics)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with yen


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Encyclopedia Article for yen

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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