\ 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

Big Morongo Feed and Tack in Morongo Valley has always specialized in alfalfa hay pellets, chicken feed and exotic hens, but is carving out a new niche business by offering 20-foot shipping containers for $2,900, including delivery. Louis Sahagun, latimes.com, "Joshua Tree was once a sleepy high desert community. Now it's a vacation rental destination," 4 June 2018 On Friday, April, 6 officers with the Harris County Precinct 3 Constables Deputies saved the lives of nearly 100 roosters, hens, and chicks that were being used and bred for a cockfighting ring near Crosby. Daniela Sternitzky-di Napoli, Houston Chronicle, "Roosters wearing steel blades rescued from Crosby cockfighting ring," 7 Apr. 2018 Almost every plant needs a little H2O, but some require a lot less than others. Succulents like hen and chicks prefer a periodic soaking once the soil gets bone-dry. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "QUIZ: Answer These Questions and We’ll Tell You Your Houseplant Soulmate," 21 Aug. 2018 Their reproductive cycles are the same (commercial hens have to be artificially inseminated). Popular Mechanics, "The Secrets of Raising Heritage Turkeys," 21 Nov. 2018 There were hen of the woods mushroom and chicken nuggets, and halved Koginuts presented with levain crackers. Ella Riley-adams, Vogue, "Sweetgreen and Blue Hill at Stone Barns Host a Grand Celebration of Squash," 15 Oct. 2018 The Classic Dish Coq Au Vin, in which a whole tough older bird —usually a rooster — is cooked in wine, must be the ancestor to this lesser-known dish, in which just the meaty legs of a sturdy hen are cooked in vinegar. Gabrielle Hamilton, House Beautiful, "Gabrielle Hamilton's Braised Chicken Legs with Shallots and Vinegar," 22 Feb. 2013 Kids can explore Six Senses’ very cool new Earth Lab, and collect their own hen eggs for breakfast at the farm. Peter Jon Lindberg, Condé Nast Traveler, "How to Take Your Vietnam Trip to the Next Level," 20 Nov. 2018 The final variable to consider is the breed of the laying hen. Tamar Adler, Vogue, "Why Pastured Eggs Are the Perfect Food," 13 Sep. 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near hen







hen and chickens

Statistics for hen

Last Updated

9 May 2019

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Time Traveler for hen

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

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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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hen

Spanish Central: Translation of 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

What made you want to look up hen? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


one that collects or salvages junk

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