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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

Recent Examples on the Web
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 While fens and swamps preserve skeletons, some bogs, especially those of Northern Europe, are acidic enough to mummify bodies, dissolving their skeletons but preserving skin, hair, nails, and even clothing. Michelle Nijhuis, The New York Review of Books, 30 Mar. 2023 Beginning in the fifteenth century this rich habitat was threatened by wealthy outsiders, who privatized and then drained the fens for wheat fields and livestock pasture. Michelle Nijhuis, The New York Review of Books, 30 Mar. 2023 Peat forests, the wet fens prevalent in the Upper Peninsula, make up only 3% of the globe's forest land but store 30% of soil carbon. Keith Matheny, Freep.com, 27 Feb. 2023 Under the terms of an intergovernmental agreement between the city and the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, five parcels of land surrounding the 160-acre fen will become forest preserve property. Gloria Casas, chicagotribune.com, 28 Dec. 2021 The duo had driven up to a small fen in late summer on the edge of White Lake, in Hardwick Township. New York Times, 16 Oct. 2021 Then, with his son-in-law Rich Kleinleder and me, Klein hiked 3 miles of moist ground to a fen of his choosing. Ned Rozell, Anchorage Daily News, 26 Sep. 2020 See More

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 28 Nov. 2023.

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

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