henpecked husband

  • SPQR

    Senior Member
    American English
    Is there an informal version of this expression? Can I say henpecked man if I don't want to refer to a married man?
    Thank you in advance :)
    "Henpecked" alone would work.
    Generally, it is a married man, but it might be stretched to someone who is in a long-term relationship.

    "picked-on" "harrassed" "dominated" "under the thumb" are other alternatives.
    More vulgar is "PW".


    Senior Member
    english UK

    You can just say "He is henpecked" or " He is under the thumb" is an expression my son's use for their friends who are bossed by their girlfriends.


    Senior Member
    English - United States
    I'm with SPQR. RE: PW

    My son and his friends would use this immediately to describe a guy in their group who was being manipulated and dominated by a bossy girlfriend.

    You could also say he was "being led around by the nose."

    I don't know where that originates from, though. :)



    Senior Member
    There is an old story, which some might call a joke, that illustrates the nature of the henpecked husband.

    Scene: The gates of heaven. St. Peter is making his rounds, inspecting the newest arrivals, checking to see that everything is progressing smoothly. There are two carved stone portals in the section for admitting recently arrived married men.
    Over one is the inscription: Henpecked Husbands.
    There is a line that extends as far as the eye can see.

    There is another portal, with the inscription "Other".
    Before it stands a solitary small man, stiffly holding his hat in front of his chest, staring at his shoes.

    St. Peter strides up to him, and asks in a booming voice, "And just what do you think you are doing here?"

    The fellow continues to stare down, and mutters and stutters,
    "My w-w-w-wife told me to go to this entrance, s-s-s-sir."


    Senior Member
    English - United States
    I'd laugh, but would you delete my post for being chat?

    Oh, what the heck.




    Senior Member
    English - United States

    They talked about this over in the Spanish/English Forum last summer.

    I just found it.

    The whole thing's kind of demeaning and entertaining all at the same time, isn't it?

    I wonder what the woman-to-man equivalent might be, and would I find humor in that?



    New Member
    I know dictionaries say 'A henpecked husband' is the one who is controlled by and a little frightened of his wife, but since I have never lived in the U.S., I would like to know if it is ACTUALLY used in daily conversation in the U.S. or they use other PRACTICAL terms for this. I appreciate your comments.

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    Senior Member
    English - England
    While you are waiting for a reply from the US, I can tell you that the phrase is well-known and commonly used in Britain.


    "I hear that Johns wife has him under her thumb."
    "Yes John is really henpecked."

    I am fairly confident that the answer will be the same for the USA.

    In the meantime, what do you mean by 'practical terms'?


    Senior Member
    English UK
    You might like to read this earlier thread, mike-d: henpecked husband. {EDIT: link removed as threads now merged}

    It indicates that AmE-speakers do use the term, and also discusses some alternatives.
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    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Henpecked, in my mind means the man is hectored into behavior that would not be to his liking.

    Pussy-whipped means his behavior is more controlled by the possibility of withholding sexual favors.

    The manner of control decides the term being used.

    In both cases the man is being controlled by the woman. (I, on the other hand am the master of my domicile.:D)


    Senior Member
    How about "he's not the one who wears the pants". It might be softer, more aloof, but would it work?
    Thank you for your help. M&L
    P.S. I usually hear it as "she's the one who wears the pants"; however, I'm not sure if this swapped version would work :confused:

    Sparky Malarky

    English - US
    (I, on the other hand am the master of my domicile.:D)
    You live alone? Sorry, couldn't resist.

    "He's not the one who wears the pants" has a subtly different meaning, but it's very close to henpecked. It would refer to a man whose wife made the major decisions in the household and who was the final authority on matters.


    Senior Member
    Hi Sparky, thank you for your post. I guess that your "has a subtly different meaning, but it's very close to henpecked" is pretty close to what I meant by "softer".
    As for your "irresistible" question; yes, I do, with a very intelligent doggie girl :) What gave me away? :D
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