This is from the movie Stagecoach (1939):

– Say, kid. How old were you when you went to the pen?

– I was about 17.

What does it mean? I guess it might mean 'to go to prison' (penitentiary) or 'to have sex' (he went to the pen full of hens).


I think it's prison as you guessed. Because one can go to the prison and not sex (at least the way it appears here).

You mentioned that he went to the pen full of hens - is this your guess or an input? In this case, the word pen may still mean fenced enclosure. which was full of hens? But I think it's prison here.

pen (n; #4) - A penitentiary; a prison.

However, it shows that the word is informal.

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