\ ˈfau̇(-ə)l How to pronounce fowl (audio) \
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

Noun I spotted a long-legged fowl by the water's edge.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Thousands of eagles and other fowl have died from a mysterious condition that attacks their nervous systems. Sara Harrison, Wired, "Scientists Finally Identify a Deadly Toxin That's Been Killing Birds," 25 Mar. 2021 Cameron Fields takes a look at some good news for the fowl whose population is growing, including in Northeast Ohio. Cliff Pinckard, cleveland, "Cleveland’s COVID mass vaccination site looks to issue administer 210,000 doses: The Wake Up for Monday, March 15, 2021," 15 Mar. 2021 Roosters, along with are turkeys, ducks, geese or other fowl, are not permitted at all. Evan Frank, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Chickens are now allowed in Oconomowoc, city officials decided. Here's what that means for residents.," 4 Mar. 2021 The most popular kind of fill for a winter jacket is still down, the fluffy layer of insulation harvested from the skin of fowl like ducks and geese. Stan Horaczek, Popular Science, "Everything you need to know about winter jacket tech," 7 Jan. 2018 The Duck Inn moniker comes from the tavern offering to roast ducks shot by hunters and farmers who back in the day used to roam the nearby Des Plaines River wetlands looking for water fowl and pheasant. Charles Selle,, "Column: New owner dives into charms of Wadsworth’s Duck Inn," 22 Feb. 2021 Other water fowl frequenting the lake include ducks, waders and seagulls. Star Tribune, "Cyprus activists: Hunters' lead pellets threaten flamingos," 21 Feb. 2021 Mallards and other water fowl fell victim to the weather. Jay R. Jordan, Chron, "Cold weather and bad drivers increase Texas wildlife deaths," 19 Feb. 2021 The clearing of underbrush allows more room for secretive marsh fowl like moorhens to maneuver around, taking cover from predators and nesting. Matt Wyatt,, "The end of a year of fire at Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge," 7 Jan. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb This reflects both the impending asteroid impact and the similarity of Asteriornis to fowl birds. Doyle Rice, USA TODAY, "Oldest bird fossil discovered, nicknamed 'wonderchicken'," 19 Mar. 2020 The typical hunter, whether the prey be fowl or four-legged, has traded in gear for a fishing pole. Matt Wyatt,, "Spring turkey outlook: Prime conditions mean thriving jakes," 12 Mar. 2020 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

Noun and Verb

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

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Time Traveler for fowl

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for fowl

Last Updated

31 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Fowl.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for fowl



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
old-fashioned + humorous : a bird of any kind


\ ˈfau̇l How to pronounce fowl (audio) \
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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More from Merriam-Webster on fowl

Nglish: Translation of fowl for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of fowl for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about fowl

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