Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A person who fusses over others in an overprotective manner.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A female chicken who bears eggs or chicks.
  • n. An outspoken and overprotective woman dealing with others' affairs.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a person who cares for the needs of others (especially in an overprotective or interfering way)
  • n. a hen with chicks

Etymologies

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  • A mother hen told her little chickees,
    "Having a lot to do won't insure that you'll do a lot."
    And one of the brood asked, "But by the time we die, and go to see the Big Rooster In The Sky, won't we have done just as much as was necessary for us to do?" "Yes," she replied, "But no need to think like that now and spoil the rest of your life."
    (From such humble beginnings do such major traditions as "The Great Rhode Island Red Religion" arise.)

    --Jan Cox

    August 19, 2007