chicken of the woods

noun phrase

variants or chicken-of-the-woods
: an edible bracket fungus (Laetiporus sulphureus) of North America and Europe that forms thick, fleshy, shelflike fruiting bodies (as on tree trunks) which are usually bright orange above and sulfur yellow below
Realistically, however, a 56-pound chicken of the woods is old and tough. The fungus is only appetizing when it is young and tender, but even then, it is usually big.Nina Rao
I've eaten chicken-of-the-woods, a bright orange fungus I knocked off a rotting log.Tina Kelley

called also chicken mushroom, sulfur shelf

Word History

First Known Use

1960, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of chicken of the woods was in 1960

Dictionary Entries Near chicken of the woods

Cite this Entry

“Chicken of the woods.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Dec. 2023.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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