hen

[hen]
noun
1.
the female of the domestic fowl.
2.
the female of any bird, especially of a gallinaceous bird.
3.
Informal. an unpleasant, usually older woman, especially one considered to be a busybody or gossip.

Origin:
before 1000; Middle English; Old English hen(n) (compare Old English hana cock); cognate with German Henne; akin to Latin canere to sing

henlike, adjective
hennish, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
hen (hɛn)
 
n
1.  the female of any bird, esp the adult female of the domestic fowl
2.  the female of certain other animals, such as the lobster
3.  informal a woman regarded as gossipy or foolish
4.  dialect (Scot) a term of address (often affectionate), used to women and girls
5.  scarce as hen's teeth extremely rare
 
[Old English henn; related to Old High German henna, Old Frisian henne]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

hen
O.E. hen, from W.Gmc. *khannjo (cf. M.Du. henne, O.H.G. henna), fem. of *khan(e)ni "male fowl, cock" (cf. O.E. hana "cock"), lit. "bird who sings for sunrise," from PIE base *kan- "to sing" (see chant). The original masc. word survives in Ger. (Hahn "cock"), Swed., Dan., etc.;
extension to "female of any bird species" is early 14c. in English. Hen as slang for "woman" dates from 1620s; hence hen party "gathering of women," first recorded 1887. Henpecked is from 1680.
"The henpect Man rides behind his Wife, and lets her wear the Spurs and govern the Reins." [Samuel Butler]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Easton
Bible Dictionary

Hen definition


common in later times among the Jews in Palestine (Matt. 23:37; Luke 13:34). It is noticeable that this familiar bird is only mentioned in these passages in connection with our Lord's lamentation over the impenitence of Jerusalem.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

hen

see mad as a hornet (wet hen); scarce as hen's teeth.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences for Hen
Originally, the hen presumably laid one clutch, became broody, and incubated the eggs.
A woman brings a hen for the ceremony, while a man brings a rooster.
Images for Hen
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