Green’s Dictionary of Slang

hen n.

1. [mid-16C+] (also henny) a woman, usu. over 30.

2. [17C–early 19C] a prostitute.

3. [early 17C–19C] a mistress, a girlfriend, a wife.

4. [mid-19C] a quart pot.

5. [early 19C+] (North/Scot., also hinny) a term of address to a woman; occas. man.

6. [20C+] (US campus) a female student.

7. [20C+] (S.Afr./W.I., Tob., also hennie) a male homosexual.

8. [1920s–30s] (Aus.) wine.

9. [1920s+] (US black) an unkempt, unattractive woman, esp. with messy hair.

In derivatives

hen-fest (n.) [-fest sfx]

[1940s+] (US) a women-only party or gathering.

In compounds

hen and chickens (n.) (also hens and chickens)

1. [mid-19C] large and small pewter pots.

2. [1930s] (US gambling) large or small stakes.

hen-cock (n.)

[mid-19C] (UK Und.) an effeminate or homosexual man.

hen college (n.)

[1920s+] (US) a women’s college.

hen-coop (n.) (also hen-roost)

1. [early 19C] a brothel.

2. [1900s] (US campus, also hennery) a women’s dormitory.

3. [1920s] (US) a beauty parlour.

hen fight (n.) (also henfighting)

[1960s] a fight between two (occas. more) women.

hen fright (n.)

[mid-19C] a man who is dominated by his wife.

hen house (n.)

see separate entry.

hen hussy (n.) [dial. hen hussy, a woman who looks after the poultry]

[late 19C–1940s] (US) a man who is seen to be over involved in household affairs and similar ‘women’s concerns’; thus an effeminate man; also as v.

hen mill (n.)

[1960s] (US Und.) a women’s prison.

hen party (n.) (also hen night, hen picnic)

[late 19C+] a women-only get-together; thus hen, an attendee.

hen pen (n.)

1. [20C+] (US Und.) a women’s prison [pen n.2 (1)].

2. [1960s] (Aus.) a women-only room in a local hotel (i.e. public house).

hen skin (n.)

[1900s–50s] (US) a cowboy’s blanket or underwear, usu. filled with feathers.

In phrases

hen of the game (n.) [game n. (1a)]

[early 17C–19C] a prostitute.

hen of the walk (n.)

[late 19C] a stalwart working-class woman.

spin a hen (v.)

[1940s] (US black) to dance with an older woman.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

hen fruit (n.) (also fruit of the hen)

[mid-19C+] (US) chicken’s eggs, either raw or cooked.

hen-headed (adj.) (also hen-witted) [characteristics of the barnyard fowl]

[mid-19C+] (US) stupid, foolish, scatter-brained.

hen track(s) (n.)

see separate entries.

In phrases