<ornithology> The female of the domestic fowl; also, the female of grouse, pheasants, or any kind of birds; as, the heath hen; the gray hen.

Used adjectively or in combination to indicate the female; as, hen canary, hen eagle, hen turkey, peahen. Hen clam.

One of several species of large hawks which capture hens; especially, the American red-tailed hawk (Buteo borealis), the red-shouldered hawk (B. Lineatus), and the goshawk.

Origin: AS. Henn, hen, haen; akin to D. Hen, OHG. Henna, G. Henne, Icel. Hna, Dan. Hona; the fem. Corresponding to AS. Hana cock, D. Haan, OHG. Hano, G. Hahn, Icel. Hani, Dan. & Sw. Hane. Prob. Akin to L. Canere to sing, and orig. Meaning, a singer. Cf. Chanticleer.

(01 Mar 1998)

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