Meaning of fat hen in English:

fat hen

Pronunciation /fatˈhɛn/


mass noun
  • A herbaceous plant with mealy edible leaves, often considered to be a weed.

    Chenopodium alba, family Chenopodiaceae

    ‘But the beauty of most edible plants - nettles, dandelions, alexanders, fat hen, sorrel - is that they are so prolific they are considered a nuisance.’
    • ‘Plants we now consider to be weeds, such as nettles, dock, fat hen and meadowsweet, regularly appeared on the Iron Age menu.’
    • ‘They also collected seagull eggs, fresh water lobster, whitebait, pipi, mussels, fat hen and watercress.’
    • ‘Crops are weedier than in recent years with fat hen, redshank and knotgrass making a number of crops look increasingly untidy.’
    • ‘I promise to pull my socks up this week, not least because without urgent attention, fat hen threatens to strangle all my seedlings.’


Late 18th century said to be so named because the seeds were eaten by poultry.