the female of the domestic fowl.
the female of any bird, especially of a gallinaceous bird.
Informal. an unpleasant, usually older woman, especially one considered to be a busybody or gossip.
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, 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.
By, of, and for women: hen party/ hen talk
common in later times among the Jews in Palestine (Matt. 23:37; Luke 13:34). It is noticeable that this familiar bird is only mentioned in these passages in connection with our Lord’s lamentation over the impenitence of Jerusalem.
one of the cities of Mesopotamia destroyed by sennacherib (2 Kings 18:34; 19:13). It is identified with the modern Anah, lying on the right bank of the Euphrates, not far from Sepharvaim.
favour of Hadad, the name of a Levite after the Captivity (Ezra 3:9).
[hœ-nahn] /ˈhœˈnɑn/ noun, Pinyin. 1. a province in E China. 64,479 sq. mi. (167,000 sq. km). Capital: Zhengzhou. 2. former name of . /ˈhʌˈnæn/ noun 1. a province of N central China: the chief centre of early Chinese culture; mainly agricultural (the largest wheat-producing province in China). Capital: Zhengzhou. Pop: 96 670 000 (2003 est)
[hen-uh n-chik-uh nz] /ˈhɛn ənˈtʃɪk ənz/ noun, plural hens-and-chickens. 1. any of several succulent plants that grow in clusters or colonies formed by runners or offshoots, as those of the genera Echeveria and Sempervivum. noun (pl) hens-and-chickens 1. (functioning as singular or pl) any of several plants, such as the houseleek and ground ivy, that […]