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

  • noun A dressed and split chicken for roasting or broiling on a spit.
  • transitive verb To prepare (a dressed chicken) for grilling by splitting open.
  • transitive verb To introduce or interpose, especially in a labored or unsuitable manner.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To kill and serve (a fowl) hastily, as a spatch-cock.
  • To prepare (something) in haste for an emergency; in the extract, to insert hastily into a document.
  • Milit., to punish by stretching upon the ground with arms and legs extended and fastened down.
  • noun A fowl killed and immediately broiled, as for some sudden occasion.

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

  • noun See spitchcock.

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

  • noun Chicken meat when prepared by spatchcocking. (See below.)
  • noun A rushed effort.
  • verb To cut poultry along the spine and spread the halves apart, for more even cooking when grilled.
  • verb To interpolate, insert or sandwich (in or into)
  • verb To prepare in haste.

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

  • verb prepare for eating if or as if a spatchcock
  • noun flesh of a chicken (or game bird) split down the back and grilled (usually immediately after being killed)
  • verb interpolate or insert (words) into a sentence or story


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

[Perhaps short for dispatch cock, a cock or chicken that has been killed and dressed in summary manner (from dispatch + cock), or perhaps alteration of spitchcock, an eel cut into short pieces, dressed with bread crumbs, and broiled (of unknown origin).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Related to spitchcock ("to split and broil an eel"), of uncertain origin.



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  • The autumn sunshine, which had never been more than a sarcasm on the part of a thoroughly unpleasant day, had failed altogether, and Edinburgh had become a series of corridors through which there rushed a trampling wind. It set the dead leaves rising from the pavement in an exasperated, seditious way, and let them ride dispersedly through the eddying air far above the heads of the clambering figures that, up and down the side-street, stood arrested and, it seemed, flattened, as if they had been spatchcocked by the advancing wind and found great difficulty in folding themselves up again.

    - Rebecca West, The Judge

    July 29, 2009

  • I love this word when employed as a verb.

    February 23, 2010