- any of various instruments for writing or drawing with ink or a similar substance.
- a detachable metal penpoint, filled by dipping or with a quill; nib.
- such a penpoint with its penholder.
- fountain pen.
- ball-point pen.
- the pen as the instrument of writing or authorship: The pen is mightier than the sword.
- a person’s style or quality of writing: He writes with a witty, incisive pen.
- a writer: I leave this story to abler pens.
- the profession of writing: a master of the pen.
- Computers. stylus(def 3).
- a quill.
- a pinfeather.
- something resembling or suggesting a feather or quill.
- Zoology. an internal, corneous or chitinous, feather-shaped structure in certain cephalopods, as the squid.
verb (used with object), penned, pen·ning.
- to write with or as with a pen; put down in writing: to pen an essay.
- to draw with or as with a pen: to pen a sketch.
- a small enclosure for domestic animals.
- animals so enclosed: We have a pen of twenty sheep.
- an enclosure used for confinement or safekeeping: We have built several pens to hold our harvest of corn.
- bull pen.
- a dock having a protective concrete structure overhead, used to service and repair submarines.
verb (used with object), penned or pent, pen·ning.
- to confine in or as in a pen.
n acronym for
- International Association of Poets, Playwrights, Editors, Essayists, and Novelists
- an implement for writing or drawing using ink, formerly consisting of a sharpened and split quill, and now of a metal nib attached to a holderSee also ballpoint, fountain pen
- the writing end of such an implement; nib
- style of writing
- the pen
- writing as an occupation
- the written wordthe pen is mightier than the sword
- the long horny internal shell of a squid
verb pens, penning or penned
- (tr) to write or compose
- an enclosure in which domestic animals are keptsheep pen
- any place of confinement
- a dock for servicing submarines, esp one having a bombproof roof
verb pens, penning, penned or pent
- (tr) to enclose or keep in a pen
- US and Canadian informal short for penitentiary (def. 1)
- a female swan
n.1“writing implement,” late 13c., from Old French pene “quill pen; feather” (12c.) and directly from Latin penna “a feather, plume,” in plural “a wing,” in Late Latin, “a pen for writing,” from Old Latin petna, pesna, from PIE *pet-na-, suffixed form of root *pet- “to rush; to fly” (see petition (n.)). Latin penna and pinna “a feather, plume;” in plural “a wing;” also “a pinnacle; battlement” (see pin (n.)) are treated as identical in Watkins, etc., but regarded as separate (but confused) Latin words by Tucker and others, who derive pinna from PIE *spei- “sharp point” (cf. spike (n.1)) and see the “feather/wing” sense as secondary. In later French, this word means only “long feather of a bird,” while the equivalent of English plume is used for “writing implement,” the senses of the two words thus are reversed from the situation in English. Pen-and-ink (adj.) is attested from 1670s. Pen name is recorded from mid-19c. n.2“enclosure for animals,” Old English penn, penne, “enclosure, pen, fold,” of uncertain origin, perhaps related to Old English pinn “pin, peg” (see pin (n.)) on notion of a bolted gate or else “structure made of pointed stakes.” v.1late 15c., from pen (n.). Related: Penned; penning. v.2“to enclose in a pen,” c.1200, from Old English *pennian, from the source of pen (n.2). Related: Penned; penning. n.3slang, “prison,” 1884, shortening of penitentiary; earlier use (1845) probably is a figurative extension of pen (n.2). see slip of the lip (pen).