\ 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

Hail the size of hen eggs, damaging winds reaching 60 mph and heavy rain are marginally possible over the Front Range and slightly more likely in the northeast plains Monday, the national weather service said. Kirk Mitchell, The Denver Post, "Denver weather: Marginal risk of egg-sized hail, heavy rain and wind gusts up to 60 mph over Front Range," 17 June 2019 Or meet the resident hens, sheep, alpaca, heritage-breed pigs, and Dexter and Jethro, the farm’s very small steers. Max Falkowitz, New York Times, "A Day at Queens Farm (and the Restaurants You Should Dig Into Afterward)," 5 June 2019 Chickens and composting go hand-in-hand—the little hens can eat your old food scraps so none go to waste. Elizabeth Gulino, House Beautiful, "This Free Class Will Turn You Into an Expert Chicken Rancher," 5 June 2019 The Owen County Humane Society seized six roosters, seven hens and 47 chicks in the bust. Justin L. Mack, Indianapolis Star, "Police seize 60 chickens, meth in rural Indiana cockfighting bust," 24 May 2017 To me, there are few greater treats than a perfectly soft-boiled regular hen’s egg. Bee Wilson, WSJ, "True Luxury in Food Doesn’t Cost a Fortune," 14 June 2019 The current incarnation of the Hornicek Farm in unincorporated Will County between Park Forest and University Park consists of the home, a barn, a milk house, a large two-room structure housing six hens and a rooster, and an organic garden. Dennis Sullivan, Daily Southtown, "Historic Farm Walk in Park Forest offers time travel trip to age of outhouses, 'stress free life'," 14 June 2019 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

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

4 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

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).


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

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