Definition of fat hen in US English:

fat hen


  • another name for lamb's-quarters
    • ‘I promise to pull my socks up this week, not least because without urgent attention, fat hen threatens to strangle all my seedlings.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But the beauty of most edible plants - nettles, dandelions, alexanders, fat hen, sorrel - is that they are so prolific they are considered a nuisance.’
    • ‘Crops are weedier than in recent years with fat hen, redshank and knotgrass making a number of crops look increasingly untidy.’


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