mother hen


: a person who assumes an overly protective maternal attitude

Examples of mother hen in a Sentence

a football coach who fusses over his players like a mother hen
Recent Examples on the Web In one of the better videos on the internet this week, a hungry hawk gets in a fight with a defensive mother hen. Natalie Krebs, Outdoor Life, 28 Feb. 2024 Darwin vividly recalls the day 21 years ago when one of the chicken eggs that was supposed to hatch looked rotten, and had been abandoned by its mother hen. Cathy Free, Washington Post, 29 Aug. 2023 During the photo shoot, Giannis flitted around like a proud mother hen, beaming at Alex. Tania Ganguli, New York Times, 24 Aug. 2023 Sarah is the mother hen of King’s employees, taking special care of men like Rooster. Paul Solotaroff, Rolling Stone, 1 July 2023 And there’s Beth and her sister’s mom, Georgia, played by Jeannie Berlin as a crusty mother hen whose mental decline only seems to have sharpened her acid-tongued insight. Owen Gleiberman, Variety, 22 Jan. 2023 Lola is designated, along with Mario, as a major within the Salvation Army officer hierarchy, but mother hen is more apt for this jolly woman. Dallas News, 16 Dec. 2022 The Pynk’s nonbinary mother hen and now minority owner, Uncle Clifford (Nicco Annan), knows there’s no convincing their charmingly irascible roommate and grandmother (Loretta Devine) to take covid seriously. Inkoo Kang, Washington Post, 25 July 2022 Cosmetology instructor Ramona Hasan watched over the students like a loving mother hen. Shirley MacFarland, cleveland, 28 Jan. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'mother hen.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1952, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of mother hen was in 1952

Dictionary Entries Near mother hen

Cite this Entry

“Mother hen.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2024.

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