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May 26, 2019

Word of the Day: Yen

2 CQ

Word of the Day : May 26, 2019

yen \YEN\ noun


: a strong desire or propensity; also : urge, craving

Did You Know?

Although yen suggests no more than a strong longing these days (as in "a yen for a beach vacation"), 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. (The name for the Japanese currency comes from Japanese en, an earlier Japanese word meaning "circle," referring to the shape of a coin.)

Aired May 26, 2019

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