noun \ˈchi-kən, sometimes -kəŋ\

: a bird that is raised by people for its eggs and meat

: the meat of the chicken used as food

: a person who is afraid

Full Definition of CHICKEN

a :  the common domestic fowl (Gallus gallus) especially when young; also :  its flesh used as food — compare jungle fowl
b :  any of various birds or their young
:  a young woman
a :  coward
b :  any of various contests in which the participants risk personal safety in order to see which one will give up first
[short for chickenshit] slang :  petty details
slang :  a young male homosexual

Examples of CHICKEN

  1. We had chicken for dinner.
  2. It's just a spider, you chicken!
  3. Don't be such a big chicken.

Origin of CHICKEN

Middle English chiken, from Old English cicen young chicken; akin to Old English cocc cock
First Known Use: 14th century

Other Birds Terms

aerie, bunting, clutch, covey, hackle, ratite, rictus, ruff, skein, zygodactyl



: too afraid to do something

Full Definition of CHICKEN

a :  scared
b :  timid, cowardly
a :  insistent on petty details of duty or discipline
b :  petty, unimportant

Examples of CHICKEN

  1. <too chicken to go through with the stunt>
  2. <just concentrate on the important duties of the job and forget about the chicken stuff>

First Known Use of CHICKEN


Rhymes with CHICKEN


chick·enedchick·en·ing \ˈchi-kən-iŋ, ˈchik-niŋ\

Definition of CHICKEN

intransitive verb
:  to lose one's nerve —usually used with out <seemed to exhibit courage, manliness, and conviction when others chickened out — J. R. Seeley>

First Known Use of CHICKEN



noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

One of the most widely domesticated poultry species (Gallus gallus), raised worldwide for its meat and eggs. Descended from the wild red jungle fowl of India, chickens have been domesticated for at least 4,000 years. Not until the 19th century did chicken meat and eggs become mass-production commodities. Modern high-volume poultry farms, with rows of cages stacked indoors for control of heat, light, and humidity, began to proliferate in Britain c. 1920 and in the U.S. after World War II (see factory farming). Females are raised for meat and eggs; immature males are castrated to become meat birds called capons. See also prairie chicken.


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