A hen is a female chicken. It's important to make sure your new backyard chickens are hens and not roosters — otherwise, those eggs you're looking forward to just aren't going to happen.

You can use the word hen for the female of many birds, including turkeys, pheasants, and quail, as well as for a female lobster. In parts of Britain, a hen can also be a (slightly offensive) slang term for a woman, and if something's described as being "rare as hen's teeth," it's extremely precious or scarce.

Definitions of hen

n adult female chicken

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a hen that has just laid an egg and emits a shrill squawk
brood hen, broody, broody hen, setting hen, sitter
a domestic hen ready to brood
mother hen
a hen with chicks
a hen that lays eggs
young hen usually less than a year old
Type of:
Gallus gallus, chicken
a domestic fowl bred for flesh or eggs; believed to have been developed from the red jungle fowl

n adult female bird

Type of:
warm-blooded egg-laying vertebrates characterized by feathers and forelimbs modified as wings

n female of certain aquatic animals e.g. octopus or lobster

Type of:
an animal that produces gametes (ova) that can be fertilized by male gametes (spermatozoa)

n flesh of an older chicken suitable for stewing

Type of:
chicken, poulet, volaille
the flesh of a chicken used for food

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