One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A boil or other swelling or growth on the skin, especially a sebaceous cyst.
swelling, spot, pimple, blister, pustule, eruption, blemish, carbuncle, cyst, abscess, tumour, ulcer, chilblain, gumboilView synonyms
- ‘There was a fellow with a wen in his neck, larger than me, and another with a wooden leg.’
- ‘Throughout the sermon that morning, Inman sat staring at Ada's neck and listening as Monroe repeated four times the Emerson passage about warts and wens and decreasing forever.’
- ‘The make-up people excelled themselves with lots of dirty fingernails and a welter of warts, wens and rotten corpses.’
- ‘The painting was grey, blue, and white, with a firm black line, a representation of an older woman, extremely well done, glasses on her nose, a kind of wen on her chin.’
2archaic A very large or overcrowded city.‘the great wen of London’
Old English wen(n), of unknown origin; compare with Low German wehne ‘tumour, wart’.
- old-fashioned spelling of wynn
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