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  1. 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 formshen·peck·ing, noun


verb (used with object)
  1. to browbeat, bully, or intimidate (one's husband, boyfriend, etc.).
Related formshen·pecked, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for henpecked

Contemporary Examples

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

British Dictionary definitions for henpecked


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


  1. (tr) (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

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