from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A female bird, especially the adult female chicken.
  • noun The female of certain aquatic animals, such as an octopus or lobster.
  • noun Often Offensive Slang A usually older woman, especially one who is engaged in conversation with other women.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Hence: the more original form.
  • To back down in a cowardly way; funk out: as, he henned at the last minute.
  • noun The female of the domestic fowl: opposed to cock.
  • noun Any female bird; especially, used attributively, equivalent to female: as, hen canary, hen sparrow, etc.
  • noun In a general sense, the common domestic or barn-yard fowl (Gallus domesticus), or any specimen of this fowl, in all its varieties and without regard to gender; a chicken. See Gallus.
  • noun A bivalve mollusk of the family Veneridæ and genus Tapes. At Hereford in England the name is given to two species, T. decussata, the purr, and T. aurea. See hen-clam.
  • To throw.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Zoöl.) The female of the domestic fowl; also, the female of grouse, pheasants, or any kind of birds
  • noun (Zoöl.) A California clam of the genus Pachydesma.
  • noun See Hen harrier (below).
  • noun (Zoöl.) a hawk (Circus cyaneus), found in Europe and America; -- called also dove hawk, henharm, henharrow, hen driver, and usually, in America, marsh hawk. See Marsh hawk.
  • noun (Zoöl.) one of several species of large hawks which capture hens; esp., the American red-tailed hawk (Buteo borealis), the red-shouldered hawk (Buteo lineatus), and the goshawk.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb dialectal To throw.
  • adverb dialectal Hence.
  • noun A female bird.
  • noun specifically A female chicken, especially one kept for its eggs.
  • noun slang A woman.
  • noun informal The woman whose impending marriage is being celebrated at a hen night.

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

  • noun adult female chicken
  • noun adult female bird
  • noun female of certain aquatic animals e.g. octopus or lobster
  • noun flesh of an older chicken suitable for stewing


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

[Middle English, from Old English; see kan- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From hen ("hence, away"), or a variant of hench.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English henne, heonne, hinne, from earlier henene, heonenen, henen, from Old English heonan, hionan, heonane, heonone ("hence, from here, away, from how"), from Proto-Germanic *hina, *hinanō (“from here”), from Proto-Indo-European *ḱe-, *ḱey- (“this, here”). Cognate with Dutch heen ("away"), German hin ("hence, from here"), Danish hen ("away, further, on"). See also hence.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English, from Old English henn, hænn ("hen, female chicken"), from Proto-Germanic *hanjō (“hen”), from Proto-Indo-European *kana- (“to sing”). Cognate with Dutch hen ("hen"), German Henne ("hen"), Icelandic hæna ("hen"). Related also to Old English hana ("cock, rooster").



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  • Hen is a Swedish gender-neutral personal pronoun . The word can be used when the gender is unknown, insignificant or be unclear done 2 3 . The word can also be used for people who do not feel at home in a gender division between man and woman..

    Feminism in Sweden is al going crazy man!

    June 29, 2015