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The term henpeck has been around since the mid-1600s, though its use has declined over the last thirty years. We will examine the definition of henpeck, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

To henpeck means to criticize, boss around, nag or dominate one’s husband. The term henpeck is applied to women or wives. Henpeck is a verb, related words are henpecks, henpecked, henpecking. The most commonly used derivation is the word henpecked, functioning as an adjective. As you may imagine, henpeck is a word used as an insult, both to the husband one is describing and the wife who is doing the henpecking. With the advent of feminism, the turn henpeck has fallen out of favor. The expression henpeck is derived from the behavior of hens, which peck and pick at each other in order to establish dominance in the flock.


Men subjected to nagging, constant demands and worries from their partners are twice as likely to die young than blokes who are less henpecked, Danish scientists claim. (The Mirror)

The henpecked star of 1970s sitcom Man About The House and the spin-off George and Mildred have their home on the market with JDM Estate Agents. (The Bromley Times)

With two enforced military agreements with the U.S., Duterte, acting like a henpecked husband, China was able to install missiles and land heavy bombers in the Philippines backyard, thus, endangering the peace and security of Southeast Asia. (The Filipino Reporter)

A flirt who extols the right to sexual liberty, she henpecks her husband, Don Geronio, and carries on an affair with a nobleman, Don Narciso, whom Loy portrays as a kind of Italian Fonz. (The Los Angeles Times)