\ˈfau̇(-ə)l \
plural fowl or fowls

Definition of fowl 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a bird of any kind — compare waterfowl, wildfowl

2a : a cock or hen of the domestic chicken (Gallus gallus) especially : an adult hen

b : any of several domesticated (see domesticate entry 1 sense 2) or wild gallinaceous birds — compare guinea fowl, jungle fowl

3 : the meat of fowls used as food roasted fowl


fowled; fowling; fowls

Definition of fowl (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to seek, catch, or kill wildfowl

Examples of fowl in a Sentence


I spotted a long-legged fowl by the water's edge.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Goats followed at 25 percent, then pigs at 13.8, humans at 4.8, dogs at 3.6, cats at 3.4, and barnyard fowl at 1.8 percent. Ned Rozell, Anchorage Daily News, "Only female mosquitoes bother us (and other facts about the insects Alaskans love to hate)," 7 July 2018 Back in August 2017, this fowl statement on the president made waves when it was displayed in Washington D.C., on the Ellipse, not far from the Washington Monument. Julie Hinds, Detroit Free Press, "Does London's Baby Trump deserve spot among 5 best Trump parodies?," 6 July 2018 The juxtaposition — robust muscleman and gawky fowl — is a wonderfully sarcastic rebuke to Plato’s description of humans as featherless bipeds. Christopher Knight,, "Out of the shadows and into the light: 'Chiaroscuro Woodcut' is a sleeper hit at LACMA," 5 July 2018 Williams said personal pet owners should not try to use their own dogs to shoo away the water fowl, as injuring a bird can result in a hefty fine. Linda Girardi, Aurora Beacon-News, "Fox Valley Park District calls in the dogs to control goose population," 27 June 2018 Although fans won't be able to bring their chickens into the stadium, the agency did announce that surrounding areas will be friendly to fowl. Julia Poe,, "Nigeria’s Lucky Chickens Banned From World Cup Stadiums," 15 June 2018 The custom still takes place each July, although now only to count the fowl and check their health. Amy Crawford, Smithsonian, "An Artistic Reimagining of London’s Past in ‘Old River Thames’," 28 June 2018 Oh, June and your fellow fowls, you will be missed. Michael Harriot, The Root, "I Wanted to Attend This Vigil For a Dead Chicken Just to Say I Was At The Whitest Thing That Ever Happened," 12 June 2018 Pasta variations were usually available alongside entrees that included lobster, filet mignon, fish and fowl — all quite satisfying except for one minor demerit when crab cakes came out with a slight mushy fishy taste. Si Liberman, San Antonio Express-News, "Living it up on MSC Seaside’s ship within a ship," 5 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Games include fowling — a game that combines football and bowling — as well as table tennis, foosball, air hockey and more. Robert Philpot,, "Hanging out at 12 new patios in and around Fort Worth," 17 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fowl.' 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 fowl


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


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for fowl


Middle English foul, from Old English fugel; akin to Old High German fogal bird, and probably to Old English flēogan to fly — more at fly


see fowl entry 1

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Fowler's toad

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Last Updated

1 Sep 2018

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

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English Language Learners Definition of fowl

: a bird (such as a chicken) that is raised for food

: the meat of such a bird used as food

: a bird of any kind


\ˈfau̇l \
plural fowl or fowls

Kids Definition of fowl

1 : bird wild fowls

2 : a common domestic rooster or hen

3 : the meat of a domestic fowl used as food

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