American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. The common domestic fowl (Gallus domesticus) or its young.
- n. Any of various similar or related birds.
- n. The flesh of the common domestic fowl.
- n. Slang A coward.
- n. Any of various foolhardy competitions in which the participants persist in a dangerous course of action until one loses nerve and stops.
- n. Vulgar Slang A young gay male, especially as sought by an older man.
- adj. Slang Afraid; cowardly.
- v. Slang To act in a cowardly manner; lose one's nerve: chickened out at the last moment.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The young of the domestic hen: in this sense now less exact than chick.
- n. A domestic or barn-yàrd fowl, especially one less than a year old.
- n. The young of some birds other than the domestic hen.
- n. A common name of the pinnated grouse or prairie-hen (prairie-chicken), Cupidonia cupido (see cut under Cupidonia), and of the sharp-tailed grouse, Pediæcetes phasianellus.
- n. A person of tender years; a child: sometimes used as a term of endearment, or with a negative (no chicken), in satirical implication of mature years.
- n. A name applied with a qualifying adjective to various fishes, as in the north of Ireland to the Atherina presbyter, called the Portaferry chicken.
- n. A kind of turtle whose shell is used in commerce.
- n. Embroidery, especially embroidery upon muslin.
- n. countable A domestic fowl, Gallus gallus, especially when young
- n. uncountable The meat from this bird eaten as food.
- n. countable, slang A coward.
- n. countable, gay slang A young, attractive, slim man, usually having little body hair. Cf. chickenhawk
- n. countable, slang A young or inexperienced person.
- n. A confrontational game in which the participants move toward each other at high speed (usually in automobiles); the player who turns first to avoid colliding into the other is the loser.
- n. The game of dare.
- adj. cowardly
- v. intransitive To avoid as a result of fear.
- v. intransitive To develop physical or other characteristics resembling a chicken's, for example, bumps on the skin.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. A young bird or fowl, esp. a young barnyard fowl.
- n. A young person; a child; esp. a young woman; a maiden; same as
- n. a person who lacks confidence, is irresolute and wishy-washy
- n. a domestic fowl bred for flesh or eggs; believed to have been developed from the red jungle fowl
- adj. easily frightened
- n. a foolhardy competition; a dangerous activity that is continued until one competitor becomes afraid and stops
- n. the flesh of a chicken used for food
- From Middle English, from Old English ċicen, cycen ("chicken"), diminutive of coc, cocc ("cock, rooster"), or from Proto-Germanic *kiukīnan. Cognate with Dutch kuiken ("chick, chicken"), Low German küken ("chicken"), German Küken ("chick"), German dialectal Küchlein ("chicken") and Old Norse kjúklingr ("chicken"). More at cock, -en. (Wiktionary)
- Middle English chiken, from Old English cīcen. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“Our ownership of more than one inspirational book that began with the phrase "chicken soup," yet contained no recipes.”
“We both ordered a dish that had the word chicken in it.”
“Till they are four months old, the term chicken is applied to the young female; after that age they are called pullets, till they begin to lay, when they are called hens.”
“For example, if the term "chicken" is used, this means chicken flesh or skin, but excluding feathers, heads, feet and entrails.”
“A drawing in the stairwell was made of a chicken dribbling a basketball with the word "dead" and then epithets surrounding the word "chicken.”
“Don't you people know that the best part of a chicken is the bones?”
“They wrap that thing in a fresh pita (all the non-fresh ones having been tossed), and smear it with tahini and a tangy garlic sauce that reeks of the Holy Clove, and the chicken is actual globs of white chicken meat and not that processed stuff, and oh it is heaven.”
“So, this is we're at the real far end of what I called chicken money, ultimate safety when you're in either money market deposit account or a money market mutual fund.”
“And if we are going to have inflation, rates will rise, you'll be glad you stayed short-term, what I call chicken money, so that you can take advantage of rising rates in the years ahead if we have inflation, if it gets out of hand.”
“HAMMER: But I understand there ` s a whole new meaning to this term chicken cutlets, maybe you can enlighten me, if we want to be enlightened.”
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