Though it has been years since he moved away from home, Johnnie still experiences the occasional yen for his grandmother's cooking.
"The first of the five to enlist was Ford, a devout Irish American Catholic with a yen for the seafaring life." From a book review by M.G. Lord in the Los Angeles Times (California), February 20, 2014
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Although "yen" suggests no more than a strong longing these days, at one time someone with a yen was in deep trouble indeed. The first meaning of "yen" was an intense craving for opium. The late 19th-century English term evolved from the Cantonese "yīn-yáhn," which itself combines "yīn, meaning opium, and "yáhn," meaning "craving." In English, the Chinese syllables were transformed to "yen-yen" and ultimately abbreviated to simply "yen." Eventually, "yen" was generalized to the more innocuous meaning of "a strong desire," and the link to drug cravings was lost.
Test Your Memory: What is the meaning of "picayune," our Word of the Day from February 26? The answer is
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