chicken

noun
chick·​en | \ ˈchi-kᵊn How to pronounce chicken (audio) , sometimes -kᵊŋ\

Definition of chicken

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : 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
2 : a young woman
3a : coward
b : any of various contests in which the participants risk personal safety in order to see which one will give up first
4 [ short for chickenshit ] slang : petty details
5 slang : a young male homosexual

chicken

adjective

Definition of chicken (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : scared

2 slang

a : insistent on petty details of duty or discipline

chicken

verb
chickened; chickening\ ˈchi-​kᵊn-​iŋ How to pronounce chickening (audio) , ˈchik-​niŋ \

Definition of chicken (Entry 3 of 3)

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

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Examples of chicken in a Sentence

Noun

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

Adjective

too chicken to go through with the stunt just concentrate on the important duties of the job and forget about the chicken stuff
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

What gets Twitter users more excited than a year’s supply of Wendy’s chicken nuggets? Hamza Shaban, The Seattle Times, "Japanese billionaire takes over top spot on Twitter after he offers prize money for retweets," 7 Jan. 2019 This will be a game of chicken between Democrats and Trump. Tara Golshan, Vox, "This could be a really long government shutdown," 21 Dec. 2018 Add cooked shrimp or pulled pieces of rotisserie chicken for a cool summer entrée. Terri Milligan, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Keep your cool: No-heat cooking keeps you comfortable and the food fresh," 5 July 2018 My freezer is stocked with fake chicken nuggets (our favorites are Quorn brand), which my toddler is obsessed with. Emily Dreyfuss, WIRED, "In Defense of the Vegan Hot Dog," 4 July 2018 With Cousins gone, the game of chicken between the team and the quarterback, the standstill in negotiations for a long-term deal, is finally over, and enter 14-year veteran Alex Smith. Ben Baskin, SI.com, "Can Alex Smith Turn Around Washington’s Misfortunes? Players, Coaches and Fans Are Hopeful," 14 June 2018 Over baked goat cheese and petite roasted chickens, each woman at the table introduced herself and talked about her investment interests. Jo Piazza, Marie Claire, "Hatched at Twitter," 12 Feb. 2019 Transfer chicken to prepared sheet and roast until cooked through, about 12 minutes. Woman's Day Kitchen, Woman's Day, "Chicken Mole Tacos," 17 Jan. 2019 The chicken is perfectly poached and served on a steaming bed of white rice, with a side of chili sauce. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "A Guide to Duxton Hill, Singapore’s Most Charming Day-to-Night Neighborhood," 29 Jan. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

But these menacing, chicken coop-like bins remind us of a misleading real estate listing — not exactly what you (or your infant) had in mind. Lauren Piro, Good Housekeeping, "The Intriguing History of 1930s Baby Cages," 23 June 2015 Spanish extra-virgin olive oil 3 pounds chicken parts, cut in serving-sized pieces 2 large cloves garlic, chopped ¼ tsp. Grace Young, ELLE Decor, "Spanish Culinary Ambassador," 5 July 2012 This healthier recipe uses just chicken stock (and no meat), and a mix of three kinds of greens. Steven Satterfield, Country Living, "Braised Early-Spring Greens," 22 Feb. 2011 The restaurant uses only chicken breast tenderloins, the strip of meat on the underside of a chicken breast that is considered a premium cut in the poultry business, and these are never frozen. Larry Olmsted, USA TODAY, "This fast-food chain serves one specialty," 30 May 2018 Measuring Spoons Plastic Bag Dutch Oven Spoon Tongs Medium Bowl Wire Rack Pat 4 chicken thighs dry with paper towels, then transfer to a large resealable plastic bag. Claire Saffitz, Bon Appetit, "The Basically Fried Chicken Sandwich," 28 May 2018 The broth in the wonton soup, for example, was simple and chicken-forward, and the wontons featured with the same sweet, firm shrimp that stars in many of the dim sum dishes. Kate Washington, sacbee, "Seafood is a real strength at this new dim-sum spot in Sacramento's central city | The Sacramento Bee," 25 May 2018 In a large baking dish, toss 1 1/4 pounds chicken breast cutlets with 1/4 cup barbecue sauce. The Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen, Good Housekeeping, "BBQ-Ranch Chicken Wraps," 7 May 2015 Turn chicken breast side down and use shears to cut along both sides of the backbone to remove it (save for stock along with those wing tips). Claire Saffitz, Bon Appetit, "Chicken Under a Skillet with Lemon Pan Sauce," 26 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The Bundt pan roast chicken: A vast improvement on the once-ubiquitous beer can chicken, this roasting technique maximizes crispy, delicious skin by inserting the middle cone into the business end of the bird keeping it upright. Paul Stephen, San Antonio Express-News, "6 ways to use a Bundt pan you probably haven’t tried," 20 June 2018 College overtime is superior, especially since the NFL chickened out and instituted the weird you-get-another-chance-if-they-only-kick-a-field-goal rule. Andy Staples, SI.com, "‘Strategic Entertainment’ vs. Entertaining Entertainment: The Flip Side of the NFL-CFB Debate," 11 July 2018 Behind the bar, Rikki had begun to worry that Amidio really had chickened out. Chicago Tribune, chicagotribune.com, "Algren Award runner-up: "Am I Not Your Animal" by Matt Jones," 2 June 2018 Everything from the granola and magic bars to chicken salad and soup is made from scratch. Michelle Newman, San Antonio Express-News, "Where to eat, shop and sleep in Comfort," 11 June 2018 Entertainment by Randy Renner begins at 11 a.m. Lunch features roast beef with gravy, mashed potatoes, and broccoli; alternate menu is chicken tortilla soup, cottage cheese and fruit on romaine. Linda Mcintosh, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Bookmobiles put on parties at parks...," 19 Jan. 2018 Question: When did the light bulb come on that this wasn't really chicken? David Sharos, Naperville Sun, "Chef's Choice: Can't beat grilled meat in this chef's book," 5 Apr. 2018 Pour into a large pot and add 8 cups chicken stock. Adina Steiman, WSJ, "Unclutter Your Cooking," 30 Mar. 2018 Beer can chicken and the best fish fry of your life? Jason Tesauro, Esquire, "Minneapolis Is the Food World's Best Kept Secret," 31 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'chicken.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of chicken

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adjective

1889, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1943, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for chicken

Noun

Middle English chiken, from Old English cicen young chicken; akin to Old English cocc cock

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Statistics for chicken

Last Updated

9 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for chicken

The first known use of chicken was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for chicken

chicken

noun

English Language Learners Definition of chicken

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a bird that is raised by people for its eggs and meat
: the meat of the chicken used as food
informal : a person who is afraid

chicken

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of chicken (Entry 2 of 2)

informal : too afraid to do something

chicken

noun
chick·​en | \ ˈchi-kən How to pronounce chicken (audio) \

Kids Definition of chicken

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a bird that is commonly raised by people for its eggs and meat : a hen or rooster
2 : the meat of a chicken used as food
3 : coward

chicken

adjective

Kids Definition of chicken (Entry 2 of 2)

: cowardly sense 1 He's too chicken to go on the rollercoaster.

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More from Merriam-Webster on chicken

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with chicken

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for chicken

Spanish Central: Translation of chicken

Nglish: Translation of chicken for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of chicken for Arabic Speakers

Comments on chicken

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