\ 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 Once the eggs hatch, the males leave, and while the hens with ducklings are fun to watch, nothing is quite as striking to the eye as those gorgeous males in that environment. Steve Meyer, Anchorage Daily News, "Now’s the time to catch a glimpse of stunning harlequin ducks," 31 May 2020 One way to guess is to monitor when the hen lays her final egg. Chelsey Lewis, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Birdwatcher captures photos of tiny wood ducklings jumping from their nest 15 feet high," 20 May 2020 When Jackie Augustine opens a chicken coop door one brisk spring morning in upstate New York, the hens bolt out like windup toys. Lynn Freehill-maye, The Christian Science Monitor, "A new vision for farming: Chickens, sheep, and ... solar panels," 23 Apr. 2020 Garlic and coriander in the hen’s brine impart uncommon succulence. Washington Post, "Hanumanh serves Laotian dishes and drinks so exciting they make a critic long to be a regular," 19 Feb. 2020 Cage-free does NOT mean that the hens have access to the outdoors. Zee Krstic, Good Housekeeping, "5 Ways Eggs Supercharge Your Health Through Your Diet," 9 Jan. 2020 Sadly, Isobel, the hen pictured above, recently passed away. Aj Willingham, CNN, "A host of holiday suggestions, a pageant milestone and therapy chickens!," 14 Dec. 2019 Large corporations bought up local producers of poultry, pork, and beef; feedlots grew to the size of fairgrounds; hen houses dwarfed neighborhood strip malls. Kate Brown, The New Yorker, "The Pandemic Is Not a Natural Disaster," 13 Apr. 2020 Backyard hens About 10 million, or 8%, of U.S. households had chickens in 2019, with ownership higher among households with young children, according the American Pet Producers Association, an industry trade group. Kate Gibson, CBS News, "Coronavirus spurs demand for chicks, raising salmonella concerns," 10 Apr. 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

5 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Hen.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hen. Accessed 5 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for hen


How to pronounce hen (audio)

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

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