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[hen-pekt] /ˈhɛnˌpɛkt/
browbeaten, bullied, or intimidated by one's wife, girlfriend, etc.:
a henpecked husband who never dared to contradict his wife.
Origin of henpecked
First recorded in 1670-80; hen + peck2 + -ed2
Related forms
henpecking, noun


[hen-pek] /ˈhɛnˌpɛk/
verb (used with object)
to browbeat, bully, or intimidate (one's husband, boyfriend, etc.).
Related forms
henpecked, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for henpecked
Contemporary Examples
  • One danger is that women will be henpecked by men who now claim that unprotected sex is medically safe.

Historical Examples
  • It was, she said, just the opposite—she who had been henpecked.

    Adventures and Recollections Bill o'th' Hoylus End
  • People said that Squire Hall was henpecked; they also said that he had married beneath him.

    The Way to Peace Margaret Deland
  • I had heard of henpecked husbands and now I felt that I saw one.

    Anne Of Avonlea Lucy Maud Montgomery
  • I had the gout, my wife was a shrew, and I was—a henpecked husband.

    Sheppard Lee, Vol. I (of 2) Robert Montgomery Bird
  • I am prepared to become an awful example of a henpecked husband.

    Mount Royal, Volume 1 of 3 Mary Elizabeth Braddon
  • Certainly you never could have henpecked me into Congress the way you did Jim Walton!

    The Co-Citizens Corra Harris
  • His neighbours used to say of him, "The puir body's henpecked."

  • There are henpecked husbands, it has been remarked, even in aboriginal Australia.

  • Take it he was henpecked when he married, and Madam Esmond took the spirit out of him when she got him in her island.

    The Virginians William Makepeace Thackeray
British Dictionary definitions for henpecked


(of a man) continually harassed or tormented by the persistent nagging of a woman (esp his wife)


(transitive) (of a woman) to harass or torment (a man, esp her husband) by persistent nagging
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for henpecked

1670s, an image from hen + peck (v.).

The henpect Man rides behind his Wife, and lets her wear the Spurs and govern the Reins. [Samuel Butler]
The verb henpeck (1680s) apparently is a back-formation.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for henpecked



Dominated by women, esp by one's wife; pussy-whipped (1690+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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