[ hen ]
/ hɛn /
Save This Word!




Apostrophes can be tricky; prove you know the difference between it’s and its in this crafty quiz!
Question 1 of 12
On the farm, the feed for chicks is significantly different from the roosters’; ______ not even comparable.

Origin of hen

First recorded before 1000; Middle English; Old English hen(n) (compare Old English hana “cock”); cognate with German Henne; akin to Latin canere “to sing”; see also chant, charm1
hen·like, adjectivehen·nish, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

British Dictionary definitions for hen

/ (hɛn) /


the female of any bird, esp the adult female of the domestic fowl
the female of certain other animals, such as the lobster
informal a woman regarded as gossipy or foolish
Scot dialect a term of address (often affectionate), used to women and girls
scarce as hen's teeth extremely rare
Old English henn; related to Old High German henna, Old Frisian henne
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

Idioms and Phrases with hen


see mad as a hornet (wet hen); scarce as hen's teeth.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
What's This Word?