Great Wen

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UK 1820s. great (very big) + wen (a cyst on the skin). Coined by William Cobbett.

Proper noun[edit]

the Great Wen

  1. (Britain, derogatory, informal, with "the") The city of London.
    • 1830, Cobbett, William, Rural Rides:
      But, what is to be the fate of the great wen of all? The monster, called, by the silly coxcombs of the press, 'the metropolis of the empire?'
    • 1962, Smith, C. T., “The South-East Midlands”, in Mitchell, J. B., editor, Great Britain: Geographical Essays, page 135:
      London is of vital importance to the communications, industry and towns of the south-east Midlands as a whole, though the proximity of 'the Great Wen' may be partly responsible for the fact that no town within it has a population of more than 130,000.
    • 2014 June 2, D.K, “Let the Great Wen get greater still”, in The Economist[1]: