Origin of hen
Examples from the Web for hen
He even claims that hen partridges conceive just by smelling the scent of males.
He eventually brings his wife and children over, and later he manages a hen and rabbit farm.Nothing Was Banal About Eichmann’s Evil, Says a Scathing New Biography|Michael Signer|October 11, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Astrid was one of a handful of guests at the Duchess of Cambridge's hen night party last year.
She installed it in the hen house so that the chickens would eat more, be healthy, lay more eggs, and be more profitable.Women | Tools | Technology: Sisters Are Doin' It For Themselves|Daily Beast Promotions|March 11, 2011|DAILY BEAST
This darling chocolate-making kitchen is perfect for hen parties or corporate escapes.
It is needless to say that the peanut party is strictly a "hen" function.Cupology|Clara
Robert was in the habit of saying: "My hen pecks, but she gives me plenty of chickens."Women of Medival France|Pierce Butler
He had got about half-way, when a hen rose a few feet from him, at his right.The Young Surveyor;|J. T. Trowbridge
They have no more sympathy for them than a hound has for a hare, or a hawk for a hen, or a tiger for a calf.New Tabernacle Sermons|Thomas De Witt Talmage
The Spanish name is gallina del campo, literally, hen of the field.The Shirley Letters from California Mines in 1851-52|Louise Amelia Knapp Smith Clappe
British Dictionary definitions for hen
Word Origin for hen
Word Origin and History for hen
Old English henn, from West Germanic *khannjo (cf. Old Frisian henn, Middle Dutch henne, Old High German henna), fem. of *han(e)ni "male fowl, cock" (cf. Old English hana "cock"), literally "bird who sings (for sunrise)," from PIE root *kan- "to sing" (see chant).
The original masculine word survives in German (Hahn "cock"), Swedish, Danish, etc.; extension to "female of any bird species" is early 14c. in English. Hen as slang for "woman" dates from 1620s; hence hen party "gathering of women," first recorded 1887. To be mad as a wet hen is from 1823, but the figure was used to indicate other states:
Some, on the contrary, are viciously opposite to these, who act so tamely and so coldly, that when they ought to be angry, to thunder and lighten, as one may say, they are no fuller of Heat, than a wet Hen, as the Saying is; .... ["Life of Mr. Thomas Betterton," London, 1710]
Orth. Out upon you for a dastardly Fellow; you han't the Courage of a wet Hen. ["A Sermon Preached at St. Mary-le-Bow, March 27, 1704"]
As wanton as a wet hen is in "Scots Proverbs" (1813). Among Middle English proverbial expressions was nice as a nonne hen "over-refined, fastidiously wanton" (c.1500); to singen so hen in snowe "sing miserably," literally "sing like a hen in snow" (c.1200). Hen's teeth as a figure of scarceness is attested by 1838.
Idioms and Phrases with hen
see mad as a hornet (wet hen); scarce as hen's teeth.