Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A common domesticated fowl (Gallus domesticus) widely raised for meat and eggs and believed to be descended from the jungle fowl G. gallus.
  • noun Any of various similar or related birds.
  • noun The flesh of the chicken, used as food.
  • noun Slang A coward.
  • noun Any of various foolhardy competitions in which the participants persist in a dangerous course of action until one loses nerve and stops.
  • noun Vulgar Slang A young gay male, especially as sought by an older man.
  • adjective Afraid; cowardly.
  • intransitive verb To act in a cowardly manner; lose one's nerve.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Embroidery, especially embroidery upon muslin.
  • noun The young of the domestic hen: in this sense now less exact than chick.
  • noun A domestic or barn-yàrd fowl, especially one less than a year old.
  • noun The young of some birds other than the domestic hen.
  • noun 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.
  • noun 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.
  • noun A name applied with a qualifying adjective to various fishes, as in the north of Ireland to the Atherina presbyter, called the Portaferry chicken.
  • noun A kind of turtle whose shell is used in commerce.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A young bird or fowl, esp. a young barnyard fowl.
  • noun A young person; a child; esp. a young woman; a maiden; same as spring chicken.
  • noun a contagious disease of fowls; -- so called because first studied during the prevalence of a cholera epidemic in France. It has no resemblance to true cholera.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun countable A domestic fowl, Gallus gallus, especially when young
  • noun uncountable The meat from this bird eaten as food.
  • noun countable, slang A coward.
  • noun countable, gay slang A young, attractive, slim man, usually having little body hair. Cf. chickenhawk
  • noun countable, slang A young or inexperienced person.
  • noun 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.
  • noun The game of dare.
  • adjective cowardly
  • verb intransitive To avoid as a result of fear.
  • verb intransitive To develop physical or other characteristics resembling a chicken's, for example, bumps on the skin.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a person who lacks confidence, is irresolute and wishy-washy
  • noun a domestic fowl bred for flesh or eggs; believed to have been developed from the red jungle fowl
  • adjective easily frightened
  • noun a foolhardy competition; a dangerous activity that is continued until one competitor becomes afraid and stops
  • noun the flesh of a chicken used for food

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English chiken, from Old English cīcen.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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.

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Examples

  • Our ownership of more than one inspirational book that began with the phrase "chicken soup," yet contained no recipes.

    Joel Dovev: The Moment I Knew Joel Dovev 2011

  • Our ownership of more than one inspirational book that began with the phrase "chicken soup," yet contained no recipes.

    Joel Dovev: The Moment I Knew Joel Dovev 2011

  • We both ordered a dish that had the word chicken in it.

    Humor for a Sister’s Heart Patsy Clairmont 2007

  • We both ordered a dish that had the word chicken in it.

    Humor for a Sister’s Heart Patsy Clairmont 2007

  • We both ordered a dish that had the word chicken in it.

    Humor for a Sister’s Heart Patsy Clairmont 2007

  • We both ordered a dish that had the word chicken in it.

    Humor for a Sister’s Heart Patsy Clairmont 2007

  • 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.

    The Book of Household Management Isabella Mary 1861

  • 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.

    The Book of Household Management Isabella Mary 1861

  • Our ownership of more than one inspirational book that began with the phrase "chicken soup," yet contained no recipes.

    The Full Feed from HuffingtonPost.com Joel Dovev 2011

  • For example, if the term "chicken" is used, this means chicken flesh or skin, but excluding feathers, heads, feet and entrails.

    The Seattle Times 2011

  • The game is called Patriarchy Chicken, and the rules are simple: do not move out of the way for men.

    How to play Patriarchy Chicken: why I refuse to move out of the way for men Charlotte Riley 2021

  • Chicken feed, as candy corn was originally called because of its appearance, was invented by the Wunderle Candy Company in the late 1880s during a candy boom in the United States, said Susan Benjamin, a food historian and president of True Treats, a research-based candy store in West Virginia.

    Is It Time to Give Candy Corn the Respect It Deserves? Derrick Bryson Taylor 2023

Comments

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  • Daffynition: an animal that people eat only before it's born or after it's dead.

    January 6, 2007

  • There are more chickens than people in the world!

    October 5, 2007

  • George Carlin said they're decent people.

    December 28, 2008

  • chicken

    December 28, 2008

  • To criticize Plato's definition of man as zōon dipoun apteron (two-legged animal without feathers (or the latinized animal bipes implume)), Diogenes the Cynic brought a plucked chicken to the Academy. In response, Plato added "having broad nails" to his definition. See Wikipedia's list of Greek phrases.

    February 6, 2010

  • Diogenes the Git, he should've been called.

    February 6, 2010

  • Hah!

    February 6, 2010

  • Embroidery, especially embroidery upon muslin.

    January 25, 2013