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From Middle English hempen, hempyn, from Old English *hænepen (made of hemp, hempen), equivalent to hemp +‎ -en. Cognate with Dutch hennepen (hempen), German hanfen (hempen). More at hemp.



hempen (not comparable)

  1. (dated) Made of hemp
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, “Book I, Canto IX”, in The Faerie Queene. [], London: [] [John Wolfe] for William Ponsonbie, →OCLC, page 125:
      In fowle reproch of knighthoodes fayre degree, / About his neck an hempen rope he weares, / That with his gliſtring armes does ill agree;
    • 1891, A[rthur] Conan Doyle, “How the Army made the passage of Roncesvalles”, in The White Company [], London: Smith, Elder, & Co., [], →OCLC, page 136:
      A quiet land is this—a land where the slow-moving Basque, with his flat biretta-cap, his red sash and his hempen sandals, tills his scanty farm []
    • 1942 May-June, “Cable Operation at Liverpool and London”, in Railway Magazine, page 174:
      Trains from Lime Street to Edge Hill were hauled by an endless hempen rope worked by a stationary engine on the platform at the latter station.
  2. Related to hempen ropes, i.e., to hanging as capital punishment.
    • 1904, Rafael Sabatini, The Tavern Night:
      [] but rid himself also of the companionship of this ruffianly Sir Crispin, to whom no doubt a hempen justice would be meted.

Derived terms[edit]


Middle English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]


Possibly from an Old English *hænepen; however this word is attested relatively late and was probably formed anew in Middle English. Equivalent to hemp +‎ -en (made of).




  1. hempen (made of hemp)


  • English: hempen
  • Scots: hempen