fen n.

plural of fan

Supposedly popularized in the summer of 1943 at Mecon, a convention in Maine.

[by analogy with men, plural of man]


SF Fandom

  • 1940 Voice of the Imagi-Nation (#8) Aug. 7 page image

    Gentlefan (plural; Ladys & Gentlefen).

  • 1943 F. T. Laney Open Letter to Members of FAPA in Fan-Dango (#3-A) 12 Dec. 1 page image Francis T. Laney

    It is obvious to all of us that Degler does not represent fandom in any way, but the tone of his publications is certain to mislead young, uninformed, and impressionable fen.

  • 1944 J. B. Speer Fancyclopedia 35/1 Jack Speer bibliography

    Fen, alternative plural for ‘fans’, which came into general use after the Mecon solemnly voted its adoption.

  • 1945 ‘Sergeant Saturn’ Review of the Science Fiction Fan Publications in Startling Stories Summer 94 page image Sergeant Saturn bibliography

    The SISFA bible contains lists of new members fenbiographies by such notables as Kennedy, Kuttner and Sehnert.

  • 1952 A. Budrys Letter in Planet Stories Nov. 111/1 page image Algis Budrys

    The laugh’s on the non-fen for supporting space devoted to activities completely unconnected with their interests.

  • 1952 P. Nowell Letter in Planet Stories Nov. 112/2 page image

    C'mon fen, let’s sit down and write to the radio stations about this.

  • 1988 S. McCrumb Bimbos of Death Sun xii. 165 Sharyn McCrumb bibliography

    All of this had become so familiar to the fen…that it scarcely seemed artificial anymore. Occasionally, back in the ‘real world’, Morgan would…mutter to himself in ‘Runewind’, causing guests to think he was an immigrant.

  • 1991 L. Niven, J. Pournelle, & M. Flynn Fallen Angels 19 Larry Niven Michael F. Flynn Jerry Pournelle bibliography

    But why tell me, Bob? I'm fafiated. It’s been years since I've dared associate with fen.

  • 1991 L. Niven, J. Pournelle, & M. Flynn Fallen Angels 89 Larry Niven Michael F. Flynn Jerry Pournelle bibliography

    A public venue was naturally out of the question; and very few fen owned homes large enough to house even a small con.

  • 2017 I. Hirsjärvi & U. Kovala Two Paths to Fantasy Studies in Fafnir #4 (iss. 3–4) 7 page image

    The difference between my generation and the younger ones is also visible in finding other fen. We only found each other as adults, through magazines and sf-clubs.

Research requirements

antedating 1940

Earliest cite

Francis T. Laney, in Fan-Dango

Research History
Mike Christie submitted a 1952 cite from a letter to Planet Stories by Paul Nowell.
Geri Sullivan submitted a 1944 cite from the Fancyclopedia.
Fred Galvin submitted a 1958 cite from Ralph M. Holland's "Ghu's Lexicon".
Malcolm Farmer submitted a 1977 cite from Susan Wood's magazine column "Propellor Beanie".
Fred Galvin submitted a 1947 cite from a letter by Tom Jewett in Planet Stories.
Fred Galvin submitted a 1949 cite from a letter by Radell Faraday Nelson in Planet Stories.
Ben Ostrowsky submitted a 1943 cite from Francis T. Laney, in the zine Fan-Dango.
Ben Ostrowsky submitted a 1940 cite for the form "Gentlefen", from the zine Voice of the Imagi-Nation.

Last modified 2022-02-02 21:18:09
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.