chicken hawk


: a hawk that preys or is believed to prey on chickens
disparaging : a person who strongly supports or promotes a war or warlike policies but who has never served in the military
His strong ties to the military and his reluctance to use force … made him an ideal man for the job, and his battle wounds from Vietnam gave him the moral authority to answer the chicken hawks who opposed the contraction of the military.Dana Milbank
slang : a man who pursues boys or young men for sexual purposes

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Mary Bly is the daughter of Minnesota poet Robert Bly, who was with Wright that afternoon at Bill Duffy's farm when Wright lazed in the hammock, watching the chicken hawk and the bronze butterfly, listening to the clanging of the cowbells. Laurie Hertzel, Star Tribune, 2 Apr. 2021

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

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1775, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of chicken hawk was circa 1775

Dictionary Entries Near chicken hawk

Cite this Entry

“Chicken hawk.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Feb. 2023.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

Fashionable Words

  • dog-sunglasses-scarf
  • Which of these items is named for a deadly weapon?
Spell It

Hear a word and type it out. How many can you get right?

Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?