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noun (1)

: low land that is covered wholly or partly with water unless artificially drained and that usually has peaty alkaline soil and characteristic flora (as of sedges and reeds)


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noun (2)

plural fen
a monetary subunit of the yuan see yuan at Money Table

Examples of fen in a Sentence

Noun (1) a day spent trudging through the fens in quest of game birds
Recent Examples on the Web
Earth’s earliest wildfires may have been fitful and erratic, flickering among the amphibious flora of fens and bogs. Ferris Jabr, The Atlantic, 25 June 2024 They can be found on all continents and are classified into bogs, fens and swamps. Sonja Anderson, Smithsonian Magazine, 25 Mar. 2024 But after decades of habitat destruction, these handsome insects are now fragmented and locally extinct, holding out in the wettest fens, valleys, and peat bogs of the New Forest and Dorset. Matthew Ponsford, WIRED, 19 Mar. 2024 The plants have been found in Indiana's forested wetlands, fens, savannas and forests as well as long roadsides and in old crop fields. The Indianapolis Star, 19 Mar. 2024 According to Indiana's Department of Natural Resources, wetlands include bogs, dune and swale, fens, flatwoods, floodplain forests, marshes, ponds, lakes, sedge meadows, seeps, streams, creeks, major rivers and swamps. Katie Wiseman, The Indianapolis Star, 14 Feb. 2024 Traversing swamps, marshes, bogs, fens, bayous and baygalls across Georgia, Louisiana and his home of East Texas, Carter creates haunting photographs that invoke the imagination. Donny Bajohr, Smithsonian Magazine, 1 Dec. 2023 There are four main kinds: Marshes, swamps, bogs and fens. Caitlin Looby, Journal Sentinel, 24 July 2023 The small lot was roughly 30 feet away from a fen that, via an unnamed tributary, fed into the lake. Matt Ford, The New Republic, 25 May 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'fen.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Noun (1)

Middle English, from Old English fenn; akin to Old High German fenna fen, Sanskrit paṅka mud

Noun (2)

Chinese (Beijing) fēn

First Known Use

Noun (1)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

1916, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of fen was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near fen

Cite this Entry

“Fen.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fen. Accessed 15 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


: low land covered wholly or partly by water

Geographical Definition


geographical name

ˈfən How to pronounce Fen (audio)
river 300 miles (483 kilometers) long in northern China in central Shanxi flowing south-southeast into the Huang River

More from Merriam-Webster on fen

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