[moo r-hen]


Also called water hen. a common species of gallinule, Gallinule chloropus, of nearly worldwide distribution.
any of several related gallinules.
Chiefly British. the female red grouse.

Origin of moorhen

First recorded in 1250–1300, moorhen is from the Middle English word mor-hen. See moor1, hen Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for moorhen

Historical Examples of moorhen

  • The nest and eggs of the Coot are very like those of the common Moorhen.

    Egyptian Birds

    Charles Whymper

  • There, too, a moorhen goes, sometimes diving under the bough.

    The Hills and the Vale

    Richard Jefferies

  • The blades of the Nonpareil were knocking up water like a moorhen.

    News from the Duchy

    Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch

  • The nightingales sang, the thrushes flew out before them, the wild duck and moorhen glanced on the pools.

    The Armourer's Prentices

    Charlotte M. Yonge

  • She decided to go halves, to take two and leave two in the nest to console the moorhen when she came back.

British Dictionary definitions for moorhen



a bird, Gallinula chloropus, inhabiting ponds, lakes, etc, having a black plumage, red bill, and a red shield above the bill: family Rallidae (rails)
the female of the red grouse
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