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pen1 / pen/ • n. 1. an instrument for writing or drawing with ink, typically consisting of a metal nib or ball, or a nylon tip, fitted into a metal or plastic holder. ∎  (the pen) the occupation or practice of writing: she was forced to support herself not only by the pen, but as a secret agent. ∎  an electronic penlike device used in conjunction with a writing surface to enter commands or data into a computer. 2. Zool. the tapering cartilaginous internal shell of a squid. • v. (penned , pen·ning ) [tr.] write or compose: he had not penned a line to Lizzie in three years. PHRASES: put (or set) pen to paper write or begin to write something. pen2 • n. a small enclosure in which sheep, pigs, cattle, or other domestic animals are kept. ∎  a number of animals in or sufficient to fill such an enclosure: a pen of young horses. ∎  any small enclosure in which someone or something can be confined. ∎  a covered dock for a submarine or other warship. • v. (penned , pen·ning ) [tr.] put or keep (an animal) in a pen: it was the practice to pen the sheep for clipping. ∎  (pen someone up/in) confine someone in a restricted space: they had been penned up day and night in the house. pen3 • n. a female swan. pen4 • n. inf. short for penitentiary (sense 1).

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penAdrienne, again, amen, Ardennes, Behn, Ben, Benn, Bren, cayenne, Cévennes, Dairen, den, en, fen, gen, glen, Glenn, Guyenne, Gwen, hen, julienne, Karen, ken, Len, Loren, men, Nene, Ogaden, paren, pen, Penn, Phnom Penh, Rennes, Shenzhen, Sun Yat-sen, ten, then, Tlemcen, when, wren, yen, zazen, Zen •Chechen • Nurofen • peahen •moorhen • Origen • allergen • admen •bagmen, ragmen, swagmen •packmen • gasmen • taxmen •jazzmen • ramen • yardmen • legmen •chessmen • repairmen • flamen •mailmen • cavemen • he-men •freedmen • milkmen • linkmen •middlemen • wingmen • hitmen •handymen • bogeymen • hymen •icemen • conmen • strongmen •lawmen, strawmen •cognomen, nomen, praenomen, snowmen •patrolmen • oilmen • Shumen •newsmen •frontmen, stuntmen •firemen, wiremen •anchormen • newspapermen •cameramen • motormen •weathermen • mermen • playpen •pigpen • fountain pen • bullpen •samisen • Leuven • Ceinwen •somewhen

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pen2 instrument, orig. quill, for writing XIII; (dial.) feather XIV. ME. penne — (O)F. — L. penna feather, pl. pinions, wings, in late L. pen; see FEATHER.
Hence pen vb.2 XV. penknife XV. orig. one used for mending quill pens.

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pen the pen is mightier than the sword proverbial saying, late 16th century, meaning that written words may often have more lasting force than military strength; the same idea is found in the writings of the Roman orator and statesman Cicero (106–43 bc), ‘arms give way to persuasion.’
pen-name an assumed name used by a writer instead of their real name.

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PEN • abbr. International Association of Poets, Playwrights, Editors, Essayists, and Novelists.

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pen1 enclosure for domestic animals. XIV. presumably repr. OE. penn, evidenced only in designations of local features of uncertain meaning; implied in OE. onpennad ‘unpenned’, opened.
So pen vb.1 enclose, confine. XII.

pen

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