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


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • Then, one day, a lovely sunny day with great tufts of primroses under the hazels, and many violets dotting the paths, she came in the afternoon to the coops and there was one tiny, tiny perky chicken tinily prancing round in front of a coop, and the mother hen clucking in terror.

    Lady Chatterley's Lover

  • “Whoa is right,” my brother, Joe, agreed, stepping up beside me and giving me a totally out-of-character mother hen expression.

    Forever Lost

  • I drew an analogy between plant and animal-life, and told her that seeds are eggs as truly as hens 'eggs and birds' eggs – that the mother hen keeps her eggs warm and dry until the little chicks come out.

    The Story of My Life

  • The mother hen for all these new arrivals is Pamela Wine-Gaulding, the educational director of Let’s Make A Dealer, an outgoing blonde with a warm, patient manner and a slow-drawl way of speaking.

    American Chinatown

  • My trst year in Southeast Asia centered around our wing s role mother hen for a new fighter base emerging from the gre jungle of Thailand.

    Thud Ridge

  • One is the local community rink, a small-time place with limited hours for figure skating and mother hen types like Debbie Wilson.



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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