\ ˈhen How to pronounce hen (audio) \

Definition of hen

1a : a female chicken especially over a year old broadly : a female bird
b : the female of various mostly aquatic animals (such as lobsters or fish)
2 : woman especially : a fussy middle-aged woman

Examples of hen in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Choose from salads, soups, Cornish hen, stuffed sole, a banana split, or perhaps a brownie sundae topped with Marshmallow Fluff. Kara Baskin, BostonGlobe.com, "Where to celebrate Valentine’s Day," 5 Feb. 2021 Ali King baits a trap with a hen’s egg and piece of rabbit meat. Naomi Arnold, Washington Post, "An island nation's audacious effort to save its unique wildlife," 31 Dec. 2020 Walking the streets of Chrysopolis, the narrator watches a hen strutting around and a horde of cats mating on the steps of a bank. Alejandro Chacoff, The New Yorker, "The Italian Novelist Who Envisioned a World Without Humanity," 28 Dec. 2020 Vegetarians can trade in roasted hen of the woods mushrooms for the chicken. Janelle Bitker, SFChronicle.com, "9 Bay Area restaurants serving Hanukkah feasts for takeout," 3 Dec. 2020 When the sky is falling, who will help the little red hen? Catharine Hamm, Los Angeles Times, "All I want for Christmas is for the DOT to put fliers’ safety first," 25 Nov. 2020 Do your best to imitate the most vocal bird which will likely be the dominant hen. Gerry Bethge, Outdoor Life, "How to Hunt a Wild Turkey for Your Thanksgiving," 24 Nov. 2020 If a female turkey is called a hen, what's a male turkey called? Washington Post, "Happy Thanksgiving! Test your knowledge of this food-filled holiday.," 18 Nov. 2020 Super Duper got the hen, and behind the pseudonym is said to be the same wealthy Chinese industrialist who already had Armando, allowing for breeding with the two expensive birds. Raf Casert, USA TODAY, "A pigeon was just sold for $1.9 million to a Chinese bidder under the name 'Super Duper'," 16 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hen.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of hen

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for hen

Middle English, from Old English henn; akin to Old English hana rooster — more at chant

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Time Traveler for hen

Time Traveler

The first known use of hen was before the 12th century

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Statistics for hen

Last Updated

12 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Hen.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hen. Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for hen



English Language Learners Definition of hen

: an adult female chicken
: a female bird of any kind


\ ˈhen How to pronounce hen (audio) \

Kids Definition of hen

1 : a female domestic fowl
2 : a female bird

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More from Merriam-Webster on hen

Nglish: Translation of hen for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hen for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about hen

Comments on hen

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