First Name
in the U.S.
since 1880
Last Name
in the U.S.
in 2010
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How to Pronounce Yen

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Meaning and Origin

What does the name Yen mean? Find out below.

Origin and Meaning of Yen

User Submitted Meanings

  • According to a user from California, United States, the name Yen is of Chinese origin and means "Strict".
  • A user from South Carolina, United States says the name Yen is of Chinese origin and means "Silver".
  • A submission from Canada says the name Yen means "Peace" and is of Vietnamese origin.
Other origins: English

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Webster's Unabridged Dictionary
noun ‖Yen
The unit of value and account in Japan. The yen is equal to 100 sen. From Japan's adoption of the gold standard, in 1897, to about 1913 the value of the yen was about 50 cents. In 1997 and 1998 the value of the yen varied from 80 per U. S. dollar to 120 per dollar.
Other Dictionary Sources
  1. A yearning for something or to do something
  2. The basic unit of money in Japan; equal to 100 sen
  3. Have a desire for something or someone who is not present
1000, 5000, and 10,000-yen notes
  1. The unit of Japanese currency (symbol: ¥) since 1871, divided into 100 sen.
  2. A coin or note worth one yen.

From Medhurst and Hepburn's romanizations, under the influence of earlier Portuguese romanizations, of Japanese (“round; round object; coin, esp. silver dollars”) as ye or yen, now (en), from Chinese 銀圓 (yínyuán, “silver round object(s), esp. Mexican silver dollars”). Cognate with Chinese (yuán, “monetary unit, esp. RMB”) and Korean (won, “North or South Korean won”).

  1. The unit of Japanese currency (symbol: ¥) since 1871, divided into 100 sen.
  2. A coin or note worth one yen.
A painting of an opium-smoker which used to hang in Ah Sing's opium den on Victoria Street in London, England.
  1. A strong desire, urge, or yearning.
    humankind's for knowledge

Uncertain, but probably from Cantonese (jan5, “craving”) originally in reference to opium addiction, Cantonese 煙癮 or 菸癮 (jin1-jan5). Compare later yen and yen-yen.

  1. A strong desire, urge, or yearning.
    humankind's for knowledge

From Chinese or Cantonese or (yān or jin1, “smoke, spec. opium”). Compare earlier yen and later yen-yen.

  1. opium

    yen was also found in the following language(s): Dutch, French, Ido, Koko-Bera, Spanish, and Volapük

    Notable Persons Named Yen


    Adeline Yen Mah is an author and physician. She holds the title Dr. Adeline Yen Mah. Adeline was given the name Yen Jun-ling on November 30th, 1937 in Tianjin. Adeline is also known as Adeline Mah, Adeline Yen, and Adeline Yen Mah.


    Yen Santos is an actor and actress. She has had major accomplishments since 2010. Yen was given the name Lilieyen Santos on November 20th, 1992.


    Yen Hsing-su is a basketball player. He was most active from 1995 to 2010. Yen was born on September 8th, 1976 in Taipei County , Taiwan.


    Yen Teh-fa is a 24th Chief of the General Staff of theRepublic of China Armed Forces, 5th Commander of theRepublic of China Army, and 6th Deputy Minister (Armaments) ofNational Defenseof theRepublic of China.


    Yen Tan is a film director, screenwriter, and producer. He has had major accomplishments since 2002. Yen was born in 1975 in Malaysia.


    Notable Persons With the Last Name Yen

    Donnie Yen is an actor, martial artist, film director and producer, action choreographer, chinese martial arts, and stage combat. He was most prominent from 1983 to 1983.


    Yaki Yen is a soccer player for the Changchun Yatai F.C., Atlético Granadilla, UD Pájara Playas de Jandía, and Chinese Taipei national football team. Yaki was born on April 21st, 1989 in Puerto del Rosario.


    C. K. Yen was a President of the Republic of China, Vice President of the Republic of China, Minister of Vocational Assistance Commission for Retired Servicemen of the Executive Yuan, Presidentof theRepublic of China, Vice Presidentof theRepublic of China, Premier of the. C. was born on October 23rd, 1905 in Suzhou. He left this life on December 24th, 1993.


    Sheng Yen was a religious. He holds the title Chan master and Zen master. Sheng was born on December 4th, 1930 in Shanghai. He died on February 3rd, 2009.


    Cindy Yen is a pop music, contemporary r&b, and dance-pop singing, songwriter, actor, dance, record producer, and composer. She was most active from 2009 to present. Cindy was born on November 14th, 1986 in Houston.


    Cheng Yen is a religious. She holds the title Venerable. Cheng was born on May 11th, 1937 in Qingshui, Taichung County , Taiwan.


    How popular is the baby name Yen in the U.S.?

    Click Here to Show Chart Data
    Year Total Babies Born Girls Born Boys Born
    1975 5 5 0
    1976 9 9 0
    1978 5 5 0
    1979 10 10 0
    1980 19 19 0
    1981 27 27 0
    1982 33 33 0
    1983 26 26 0
    1984 33 27 6
    1985 32 32 0
    1986 28 22 6
    1987 15 15 0
    1988 33 26 7
    1989 19 19 0
    1990 17 10 7
    1991 21 21 0
    1992 18 18 0
    1993 9 9 0
    1994 16 16 0
    1995 10 10 0
    1996 7 7 0
    1997 13 13 0
    1998 14 14 0
    1999 15 9 6
    2000 13 13 0
    2001 10 10 0
    2003 15 10 5
    2004 11 11 0
    2005 14 9 5
    2006 12 12 0
    2007 10 10 0
    2008 14 14 0
    2009 11 11 0
    2010 12 12 0
    2011 14 14 0
    2012 6 6 0
    2014 6 6 0
    2015 7 7 0
    2016 7 7 0

    Where is the name Yen popular?

    View popular names by state or region.

    Popularity of Yen as a last name

    The map shows the absolute popularity of the name Yen as a last name in each of the states. See other popular names in California, New York, or Massachusetts.

    Common last names for Yen

    • Nguyen
    • Wong
    • Lee
    • Chang
    • Huang
    • Pham
    • Huynh

    Common first names for Yen

    Ethnicity Distribution

    Ethnicity Yen U.S.
      White 3.95% 64.26%
      African American 0.47% 11.96%
      Asian, Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander 89.12% 4.85%
      American Indian and Alaska Native 0.00% 0.69%
      Two or More Ethnicities 4.72% 1.76%
      Hispanic or Latino 1.74% 16.26%

    Of Last Name Yen

    People with the last name Yen are most frequently Asian, Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander

    Entire United States

    Fun Facts about the name Yen

    • How Popular is the name Yen? Yen is the 14,622nd most popular name of all time. As a last name Yen was the 6,671st most popular name in 2010.
    • How many people with the first name Yen have been born in the United States? From 1880 to 2017, the Social Security Administration has recorded 596 babies born with the first name Yen in the United States. That's more than enough people named Yen to occupy the territory of Pitcairn Islands (United Kingdom) with an estimated population of 66 (as of July 1, 2008).
    • What year were 5 or more babies first named Yen? The name was first given to 5 or more babies in the year 1975 when it was given as a first name to 5 new born babies.
    • When was Yen first recorded in the United States? The oldest recorded birth by the Social Security Administration for the first name Yen is Tuesday, December 10th, 1878.
    • What year had the most people named Yen born? The highest recorded use of the first name Yen was in 1982 with a total of 33 babies.
    • Random Yen Factoid: According to the 1989 U.S. Social Security Administration data, the first name Yen is not a popular baby girl's name in California. Imagine that, only 5 babies in California have the same name as you in 1989.
    • Weird things about the name Yen: Your name in reverse order is Ney. A random rearrangement of the letters in your name (anagram) will give Eny. How do you pronounce that?
    • How many people have the last name Yen? In 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau surveyed 5,066 people with the last name Yen.
    • How likely are you to meet someone with the last name of Yen? If you manage to meet 100,000 people in your life, chances are that 2 of them will have Yen as their last name.

    What Yens Have Visited This Page?

    Name poster for Yen

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    • Sources:
    • U.S. Census Bureau: Frequently Occurring Surnames from the Census 2000 (public domain).
    • U.S. Social Security Administration: Popular Baby Names, Death Master File (public domain).
    • 1913 Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary via the Collaborative International Dictionary of English (License)
    • Other Dictionary Sources: WordNet 3.1 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University (License).
    • Wiktionary: Titles and License.
    • Notable persons via Wikipedia: Titles and License. Click each image for the attribution information.