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get a yen for (something)

To get a craving or desire for something. Though I quit smoking years ago, I still get a yen for a cigarette from time to time. I'm getting a yen for something sweet—let's go out for ice cream!
See also: get, yen

have a yen for (something)

To have a very strong and persistent desire or craving for something. I've had a yen for sushi ever since I came back from Tokyo last month.
See also: have, yen


A desire. Often used in the phrase "have a yen for (someone/something)." Meredith has a real yen to be a surgeon, which, combined with her work ethic, should bring her much success.

yen for someone or something

to long for someone or something. I yen for a great big bowl of highly fattening ice cream. Frank yenned for Sally.
See also: yen

have a yen for

Crave or desire, as in I have a yen for a thick juicy steak. The yen in this expression comes from the Chinese yan, meaning "a craving" (probably for opium). The term was first recorded in English in 1906.
See also: have, yen