hen

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Related to Hens: Cornish hens

Don't let the fox guard the henhouse.

Don't assign the duty of protecting or controlling valuable information or resources to someone who is likely to exploit that opportunity. You're going to put your ex-convict brother-in-law in charge of your business? I can't tell you how to run your company, but don't let the fox guard the henhouse.
See also: fox, guard, let

fox guarding the henhouse

A person likely to exploit the information or resources that he or she has been charged to protect or control. My sister is going to put her ex-convict brother-in-law in charge of her business, and I'm worried he'll be like a fox guarding the henhouse.
See also: fox, guard, henhouse

henpeck (someone)

Of a woman, to thoroughly and continually dominate, intimidate, bully, or browbeat (a man), especially her boyfriend, partner, or husband. Janet is usually so nice, but when she's around her husband, she just henpecks him relentlessly.
See also: henpeck

henpecked

Of a man, thoroughly and continually dominated, intimidated, bullied, or browbeaten by a woman, especially his wife or girlfriend. John used to be the most adventurous, spontaneous guy I knew, but since he got married, he's become totally henpecked. I hope I never become some henpecked husband like my father was.
See also: henpeck

rarer than hens' teeth

Incredibly scarce or rare; extremely difficult or impossible to find. Support for the president is rarer than hens' teeth in this part of the country.
See also: teeth

scarcer than hens' teeth

Incredibly scarce or rare; extremely difficult or impossible to find. Support for the president is scarcer than hens' teeth in this part of the country.
See also: scarcer, teeth

(as) rare as hens' teeth

Incredibly scarce or rare; extremely difficult or impossible to find. Support for the president is as rare as hens' teeth in this part of the country.
See also: rare, teeth

(as) mad as a wet hen

Enraged; extremely or inconsolably angry. My dad was mad as a wet hen after I crashed his car. You make me as mad as a wet hen with the way you carry on sometimes, you know that?
See also: hen, mad, wet

a mother hen

A person who looks out for the welfare of others, especially to a fussy, intrusive, or overprotective degree. Jenny can be a bit of a mother hen when we're out at the bars. I wish she would just relax a little and let us have a good time! My dad is pretty relaxed about most things, but he can be a bit of a mother hen when it comes to who I hang out with.
See also: hen, mother

fox in the henhouse

Someone with bad intentions. (A fox would prey upon hens in a henhouse.) I'd watch out for him if I were you—he walks around here like a fox in the henhouse.
See also: fox, henhouse

fussy as a hen with one chick

Extremely anxious and overprotective. A: "I can't believe your curfew is only nine o'clock." B: "Yeah, my mom can be fussy as a hen with one chick sometimes."
See also: chick, hen, one

hens' teeth

Something very scarce (because hens have no teeth). Typically used in phrases like "rarer than hens' teeth." I can hardly believe your brother got an A on his final exam—grades like that are rarer than hens' teeth for him!
See also: teeth

hen's tooth

Something very scarce (because hens have no teeth). Typically used in phrases like "as scarce as a hen's tooth." I can hardly believe your brother got an A on his final exam—grades like that are as scarce as a hen's tooth for him!
See also: tooth

hen night

A social gathering for women, especially a bachelorette party. Primarily heard in UK, Australia. The girls at work planned a hen night for Sarah since she is due to get married soon.
See also: hen, night

hen party

A social gathering for women, especially a bachelorette party. Primarily heard in UK, Australia. The girls at work planned a hen party for Sarah since she is due to get married soon.
See also: hen, party

be as scarce as hen's teeth

To be incredibly rare; to be extremely difficult or impossible to find. Support for the president is as scarce as hens' teeth in this part of the country.
See also: scarce, teeth

He that would have eggs must endure the cackling of hens.

Prov. You must be willing to endure unpleasant, irritating things in order to get what you want. Sue: I'm tired of working after school. All the customers at the store are so rude. Mother: But you wanted money to buy a car. He that would have eggs must endure the cackling of hens, dear.
See also: cackle, egg, endure, have, he, hen, must, of

*mad as a hornet

 and *mad as a wet hen; *mad as hell
very angry. (*Also: as ~. Use hell with caution.) You make me so angry. I'm as mad as a hornet. What you said made Mary mad as a wet hen. Those terrorists make me mad as hell.
See also: hornet, mad

*scarce as hen's teeth

 and scarcer than hen's teeth
Cliché scarce; seldom found. (*Also: as ~.) I do declare, decent people are as scarce as hen's teeth in these chaotic times. Handmade lace is scarcer than hen's teeth; most lace is made by machine.
See also: scarce, teeth

a hen night/party

  (British & Australian)
a party for women only, especially one that is organized for a woman who is soon going to get married Barbara's having her hen night a week before the wedding.
See also: hen, night

be as scarce as hen's teeth

  (American & Australian)
to be very difficult or impossible to find It was the President's inauguration and hotel rooms in Washington were as scarce as hen's teeth.
See also: scarce, teeth

mad as a hornet

Also, mad as hell or hops or a wet hen . Very angry, enraged as in Mary was mad as a hornet when her purse was stolen, or Upset? Dan was mad as hell, or The teacher was mad as a wet hen. The use of mad for "angry" dates from about 1300, but these similes are of much more recent vintage (1800s, early 1900s). The allusions to a hornet, which can launch a fierce attack, and hell, with its furious fires, are more obvious than the other variants. Mad as hops was first recorded in 1884 and is thought to have been the writer's version of hopping mad; mad as a wet hen, first recorded in 1823, is puzzling, since hens don't really mind water.
See also: hornet, mad

scarce as hen's teeth

Also, scarcer than hen's teeth. Exceptionally rare, as in On a rainy night, taxis are as scarce as hen's teeth. Since hens have no teeth, this term in effect says that something is so scarce as to be nonexistent. [Mid-1800s]
See also: scarce, teeth

hen fruit

n. (chicken) eggs. There’s nothing like hen fruit and bacon.
See also: fruit, hen

hen party

n. a gossipy party attended by women. I have a hen party every few weeks. We love to get together.
See also: hen, party

Hen-ree! Henry Aldrich! Coming, Mother!

Henry Aldrich was a very popular radio show that ran from 1939 to 1953. The title character was an awkward adolescent who was forever getting into hot water with his girlfriend and his other friends. The show began with Mrs. Aldrich calling, “Hen-ree, Henry Aldrich!” to which he would reply, “Coming, Mother!” The phrase's elements became 1940s catchwords for summoning and responding, respectively.
See also: henry

scarce as hen's teeth

Nonexistent. Hens have no teeth, so what could possibly be scarcer? (Stones in their gizzards act as teeth to grind their food).
See also: scarce, teeth
References in classic literature ?
You ought to be very proud, ma'am," said Uncle Henry, who was astonished to hear a hen talk so sensibly.
They followed the Yellow Hen into the house, which Aunt Em declared was neat as a pin.
Why, as for that," answered the yellow hen thoughtfully, "I've clucked and cackled all my life, and never spoken a word before this morning, that I can remember.
I'm glad to know that," continued the yellow hen, in a confidential tone; "because, if one is going to talk, it's best to talk correctly.
Don't mention it, my dear," answered the hen, calmly, and began preening her feathers.
It's strange," said the girl, reflectively; "but as I'm not a hen I can't be 'spected to understand that.
The yellow hen was some company, and a bit of comfort, too; but it was dreadfully lonely out on the big ocean, nevertheless.
After a time the hen flew up and perched upon the topmost slat of the coop, which was a little above Dorothy's head when she was sitting upon the bottom, as she had been doing for some moments past.
Over there a little way," answered the hen, nodding her head in a certain direction.
There is nothing in the world so miserable as a wet hen.
Just then Toto, who had been growling to himself in a cross way, gave a sharp bark and flew at the yellow hen, who ruffled her feathers and let out such an angry screech that Dorothy was startled.
In spite of this warning had she not grabbed Toto quickly by the neck the little dog would have done the yellow hen a mischief, and even now he struggled madly to escape Dorothy's grasp.
And this is Billina," continued Dorothy, introducing the yellow hen, and they all bowed to her in turn.
I've such wonderful news," said the hen, turning her head so that one bright eye looked full at Dorothy.
It was so hard to tell them apart," explained the hen.